Thursday, March 29, 2012

Put the Haw back in Redbud State Park

Somebody (shall remain nameless) asked Sunday, "So why do you-all keep leaving the 'k' off  Red Hawk State Park," which stunned into silence those of us accustomed to answering with aplomb the ususal question, "Why do you-all keep calling Redbud State Park --- Red Haw State Park?"

As an aside, if you-all plan to see the redbud show at Red Haw, do it now. Once the weekend's over, the annual display will dry up and blow away --- about a month early. It's beautiful out there. Just beautiful.

But here's a hint: All that beauty is not exactly as Mother Nature planned it. When the Civilian Conservation Corps turned those then mostly treeless prairie hills out east of town into a state park at the head of a branch of  Little White Breast Creek back in the 1930s, there weren't any redbuds.

But there were plenty of red haws, a short variety of hawthorn that blooms white and produces a red fruit, called a "haw." You can actually make red haw jelly --- providing you can find enough ripe haws not already consumed by other critters.

There are a few other white blossoms in the woods at Red Haw right now, but they're not red haws.

Red haws like open hills and creek banks, but do not flourish in overgrown and brushy woodland, which is what the hills around what now is Red Haw Lake have turned into.

So the redbud display at Red Haw came along later, begun consciously, and then spread with additional planings aided by natural reproduction and enthusiasm. I'm not complaining, mind you.

There aren't many red haws left at Red Haw these days, but when one of the specimen trees near the ranger's house blooms during an ordinary spring it looks like this.

As a rule, the redbuds and the red haws bloom at roughly the same time. I think they're pretty and wish more would be planted.

That is not the case this year, and the red haws are just sitting there as this unnatural spring advances, looking angry as their more feckless redbud neighbors bloom with abandon.

I hope they're not so angry at being tricked by nature that they up and die on us. I'll keep checking back as the season advances.

But, again, if you're going to enjoy the redbud show at Red Haw State Park, this is the week to do it.

1 comment:

Lynne said...

Beautiful pictures of a beautiful place, Frank.