Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

When It's Too Wet To Work In The Garden, Take A Walk

One of the greenway waterfalls

This past Sunday afternoon we decided to walk in the park. Sundays are our time to talk about the past week and share plans for the coming week; so we usually head out to one of Nashville's natural areas. We decided on the Ashland City greenway.

Officially, it is named The Ashland City Bicentennial Trail. The trail in its former life was the site of the Tennessee Central Railroad tracks. There are tall bluffs on one side and a wide floodplain on the other. Beyond the floodplain is Sycamore Creek and the Sycamore Creek embayment (large cove). The trail is flat and wide, with plenty of room for bikers, walkers, joggers, parents with strollers and little kids on bikes. Completely accessible.

Either the city or a boyscout troop has done a great job of placing plant markers along the trail denoting native wildflowers, trees and even the invasives. There are carvings of the leaves on the markers to help you identify which plant in the greenery they are pointing you towards. Very clever way to educate trail users....

The bluffs are spectacular. I love river bluffs. I love thinking about water moving through and carving out the bedrock eons ago. We would walk a bit and I would stop and exclaim, "Look at that layered rock and stone, isn't it beautiful?" or "Oh, look at that columbine, isn't it amazing that plants can grow and thrive on that rock with hardly any soil?" It is amazing and beautiful.

The bluffs were also dotted with daffodils. Not quite in bloom but ready to open any day. Years ago some landowner on the top of the bluff lovingly planted bulbs in her yard (sorry guys but I think it was a woman) and now there they are growing all along the bluffs in the most unlikely places. Nature at work. I wonder how long ago they were planted and how far they traveled to find purchase on a bluff shelf.

There are even a few waterfalls. Bluffs always have waterfalls. What a nice sight and even better sound....with the water moving down the hillside. If only garden water features sounded that good.

Nothing is in bloom at this time, but soon the columbine, phacelia, spring beauties, trillium and other natives will be viewable. Columbine an evergreen, is happily growing all over the bluff ledges. It's going to be pretty this spring.

But don't limit your visit to spring, the summer may have a few surprises for you. If you're lucky you might see the American White water lily (Nymphaea odorata) in bloom. Look for it closer to the Sycamore Creek embayment.



  1. i like this post. give me an idea to take the son for a long walk. is this easy to find? never heard of it and ashland city is not far away. maybe it is by the agriculture station?

  2. Hi Gail: I've enjoyed reading through your blog. My sister lives in Franklin after recently moving from Brentwood. You are in a beautiful part of the country. The trail sounds like a lovely Sunday adventure. I love waterfalls and rocks of any kind- something we don't see down here in Florida unless we build them. :-)
    Meems @ hoe and shovel

  3. Hi Gail !
    That was such a nice post .. I almost felt like I heard water rushing through stone and rock .. Water sounds are so relaxing and walking through a trail like that .. best de-stressor in the world. It never stays the same either .. that is what is nice about having distinct seasons. Always something changing !

  4. Tina,

    It is easy to find, just search for Ashland City Greenway on your fav search engine. It is a nice placde to visit.


    I have seen your posts and have meant to comment, but haven't yet. Glad you stopped by today. I love that big image of the Azalea...I forget hoe beautiful they are close up...


  5. Joy,

    And you know distinct seasons!

    The waterfall was terrific and I think I captured it in my photo, but who knows how blurry the photo really is.

    Good talking with you,


  6. Hi again Gail .. I meant to say we have an extraordinary display by, of all places, a main highway .. Kingston is cut out of limestone and various stratification .. the jutting cut across this rock bed has a waterfall affect with run off water .. when it freezes in the winter spectacular displays of water "frozen" as numerous small waterfalls, is amazing .. so even a mundane place as a highway becomes awesome ! Does this mean some good comes from our winter ? LOL

  7. When dh and I were off to the distant places and away from home, I longed for this type of scenery. We had to spend 20yrs away and I'm so thankful to return to the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The picture and description of your walk was warm and inviting. I like the part about the lady planting all the daffodils.

  8. Frances



    I love the highway icicles...


    I would miss this country if I left it...


  9. I bet there are all sorts of trails and places to visit that even the local people in our area haven't heard of. Thanks for letting us know about one. It would be worth a hike!

  10. Dave,

    It would be a good hike for a family.

    You are so right, there are trails and greenways all over the place. Another favorite is Shelby bottoms.

    What is in your neck of the woods?



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