Category Archives: Landscape

Pause Under the Live Oaks

I often pass this line of Live Oak trees when visiting Magnolia Plantation and Gardens and have taken more than a few photographs, none of which really convey the feel of standing under the old trees.

I love the twisted branches, Spanish Moss, and all that green. Last week I stopped as I passed by to soak in the atmosphere and took a few more images.

Under the Spreading Live Oak Trees
Under the Spreading Live Oak Trees – click image for larger view

July 12, 2019

Out of a Rut

Ted and I have been visiting the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area regularly for almost three years. Somehow we always take the same few routes. The place is huge, just over 8000 acres, and yesterday we tried a new walking trail which starts in some woods overrun with mosquitoes then opens up to this!

Rice Field Ponds and Clouds
Rice Field Ponds and Clouds – click for larger view

The puffy clouds reflecting in the old rice field ponds were the perfect touch for some landscape photos. Several walkable dikes wind around the ponds and we saw a wide variety of birds, a few Alligators, and two Armadillos. And not another human being.

Rice Field Ponds and Clouds
Rice Field Ponds and Clouds – click for larger view

Cypress Gardens: First Visit

Cypress Gardens, a 170 acre preserve in Monks Corner, was on our list of places to visit when we first visited South Carolina in January 2016. Unfortunately, it had been completely destroyed in October 2015 by the “thousand year flood.” Promises to reopen over the next three years were changed as setbacks to repairs came with Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Tropical Storm Irma in 2017 and the January snowstorm of 2018.

Water depth marker
Water depth marker – during the Thousand Year Flood of 2016 water rose to between the top two white marks on the pole

At long last Berkeley County has overcome the weather and bureaucratic delays, reopening the park in April. After giving them a few weeks to work out the kinks we’ve now had our first excursion there and fittingly, it started raining as we pulled into the parking lot.

Not deterred we started with a guided boat ride through the black water swamp to get a feel for the park layout. It was neat being down close to the water surface and another time I’d take the self-guided (paddle yourself in a small flat bottom boat) so I could stop where I wanted.

Water Lilies in Black Water Swamp
Water Lilies in Black Water Swamp

Plants are being allowed to come back on their own but the management actively is removing the thriving duck weed and creating compost from it.

Water Lily in Black Water Swamp
Water Lily in Black Water Swamp

We saw a few alligators including some under a year old, snakes and song birds. Hopefully wading birds and other wildlife will returnĀ  as the landscape heals.

Reflections in Black Water Swamp
Reflections in Black Water Swamp

A few small islands throughout the swamp had cultivated flowers. I don’t know if these somehow survived all the weather events or have been recently planted.

Gladiola
Gladiola

Walking trails around the swamp and into the woods, a butterfly house, a combo aquarium/reptile center, and numerous gardens round out the attractions.

Ravenel Bridge Across the Marsh

Charleston’s Ravenel Bridge is part of the landscape seen from the back of Magnolia Cemetery. The Cooper River runs under the bridge and creates the marsh that edges the cemetery, which is just barely above the level of the river.

Ravenel Bridge, Charleston
Ravenel Bridge, Charleston

A storm was predicted for the morning I was there but the clouds drifted higher before anything dramatic looking happened.

Ravenel Bridge, Charleston
Ravenel Bridge, Charleston

May 3, 2019

Pond with Water Lowered

These images were taken 4/5/2019 as the water was dropping in this pond. Repairs were being done to the pond out-flow and adjacent road that required the water to be lowered.

It was fascinating to see what had been under the two to three feet (up to one meter) of water. This first image is an alligator ramp that is the same one seen in Wood Stork King of the Ramp.

Pond with water lowered
Pond with water lowered

The reddish material is Mosquito Fern. Next is another Alligator ramp that had just barely been sticking out of the water on the high end.

Pond with water lowered
Pond with water lowered

Lastly, this is a view of a bridge that connects a couple of the pond’s islands as part of the path around the pond. Great Blue Herons can easily walk under the bridge.

Pond with water lowered
Pond with water lowered

As of last week management is adding some water to this pond. Unless we have a big rain I expect it will be weeks and maybe more before the water is back to the previous level.