by Beth Sullivan
Sometimes we get busy at this time of year. Lots to do, places to go, and we need to really remind ourselves to take a little break to enjoy the view. I would say, “Stop and smell the roses,” and in this case, it would be Rugosa Roses.
|Rugosa Roses are re-growing along the bank.|
As you drive up and down North Main Street in Stonington, always on the way to or from the Borough, you probably have passed the white gates of a little coveside plot. Right now there is no real signage. If you look closely, you will see a few white Avalonia Land Conservancy signs. Hopefully by summer’s end there will be a nice, more inviting sign proclaiming the name of this little piece of land as the Simmons Preserve.
|Look for the inviting white gate on North Main Street.|
Rich in history
I have written about it before-a place rich in local history. We visited it just recently, checking off our spring cleaning stewardship chore list. The beautiful white gates needed clearing; grasses and weeds grew up quickly this spring. Once inside, we were met by a large swath of green and white-the Lily of the Valley that was planted there probably a century ago. The flowers were going by, but the fragrance lingered. We mowed a simple trail; just enough to let a walker loop through, get close to some of the lovely ornamental plants, glimpse the shoreline, and return to the gate passing some large Rhododendron bushes. Most of Avalonia lands concentrate on preserving the native plants, but here, the ornamentals are part of the history and really are such a pleasure.
|Waves of Lilly of the Valley greet you at the gate.|
|Old walls and Rhododendron hint at the past.|
Fox den with water view
A peek over the side to the cove allows you to see the edge of the water, the marsh plants, and the tides. You might be lucky to spy a big hole that is most likely a Fox den. They seem to enjoy locations by the water as much as we do. Along the edge you will find some Rugosa Roses, otherwise known as Beach Rose, growing back. Last fall, we cleaned up a lot of vines and overgrowth to clear the view. In doing so, the roses have begun to re-establish and will lend their fragrance to the air through the summer.
|Cove-side view shows a bit of salt marsh.|
|A Fox den near the edge of the preserve.|
The huge old maples have big cavities, openings perfect for squirrels, raccoons, bats, or even owls.
|This old Maple might host a squirrel or raccoon.|
The blueberries are gnarled and ancient. They did have blossoms, but likely the birds will find the berries before any human visitors.
|These ancient blueberries are gnarled.|
It does not take long to stop, enjoy a little walk, take a few good deep breaths of air…then be on your way. If we try and install a bench, it might be harder to leave.
Photographs by Beth Sullivan