Spring: Flowers LbNA # 46541
|Placed Date||Apr 11 2009|
|Location||East Peoria, IL|
|Found By||Cat Inn Woods|
|Last Update||Sep 2 2013|
Find the intersection of 116 and Mariner Way in East Peoria. Turn onto Mariner Way toward Burklund, then immediately turn left on the access road. You will find Bennett’s Terraqueous Gardens on your right; park on the side of the road.
These terraqueous gardens are also known as a seep, where groundwater seeps out and saturates the area, creating a wetland. Many native plants can be found here, including swamp thistle, bottlebrush sedge, spotted Joe-Pye weed, swamp goldenrod, marsh marigold, and skunk cabbage.
It is because of skunk cabbage that we chose this spot for our Spring: Flowers box. Skunk cabbage is usually found in wetlands and is one of the first plants to flower in the spring, often when snow is still on the ground. This is due to its remarkable ability to generate heat; it is capable of raising the temperature of its immediate vicinity by 15-35° Celsius. In early spring, the rather mottled purple, leaf-like flowers can be seen poking out of little melted spots in the middle of a blanket of snow. Later in the spring, more attractive flowers also abound at this spot.
Enter the garden via the rocky path and go left toward the observation deck. Go up into the shelter and look out over the seep. The red color of the water and soil is due to the high amount of iron found in the groundwater. You may notice an oily-looking film on the water’s surface in the summer; this is not due to pollution or contamination. The substance is actually a natural byproduct of the oxidation of iron by bacteria found in the water. They convert dissolved iron in the water into insoluble iron, and thus are responsible for the red color of the area.
After viewing the gardens, turn around and look over the back railing of the shelter. The box is located underneath the right side of the large rock, nestled inside the rotted wooden beam.
Please bring your own ink.