Daffy Bright

Daffy bright,
Gold on white,
Petals pure,
Aspect sure,
Life so brief,
Full of grief,
Soon to go,
Fail to know
That you give
We who live,
By the trick
Of this pic,
Joy to keep,
As we weep.

Ron Cohen © 2011

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I titled this post Yellow Daffodil because in truth I didn’t know the correct name for this trumpet daffodil. My garden book suggests it may be a “King Arthur” cultivar, but I can’t be sure. A quick search of the Internet didn’t give me the answer, either.

Of course, this is a technical point, of interest only to a few committed gardeners. After all, a daffodil by any other name…(as olde Will Shakespeare might say). But, if you have any facts about these lovely, hardy, spring-flowering bulbs, please share them with us in the comment box, below.

Their color, form and pose are so expressive, is there any doubt why these narcissum are beloved by all. Their origin? The western Mediterranean, my flower book says.

The top photo I took this spring, on April 12, 2011, and the bottom one two years earlier, on April 18, 2009. All the blooms are from the same batch of bulbs, growing in the same garden spot.

The earlier photo, at bottom, shows the daffodils after a heavy rain. Their color appears less intense. Maybe it’s due to longer exposure to the elements, or just the softer light that always follows a rain.

Below, I’ve posted a link to a photo of a lovely bicolored daffodil, which I took behind the house minutes after the top one.

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Related: Bicolored Daffodil.

 

This lovely crocus has weathered many a winter at the corner of our house, bravely to reappear each spring before all others flowers in our garden, here at the edge of the pond.

A double bloom appeared in 2009, but only a single one this year. Perhaps the winter was colder this year, or the bulb has less stored energy than it once had. We’re all getting older.

I missed it in 2010. There was too much late snow that year, I guess.

The two photos were taken two years apart, but on almost the same date, April 11th and 10th respectively. Nature’s clock is truly amazing, especially given the normal fluctuations in temperature.

A tip: I’ve learned that it’s important to leave the leaves standing after the bloom has withered and gone, so the bulb can recharge its energy for the next season.

To view more flower photos, visit Jackie’s Blooms, in the gallery section, above.

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Responding to my two previous posts, a neighbor across the pond told me she’s unconcerned about the high water “because I don’t think it is high, especially not for early spring.” That begs the question. It’s not the high water per se that’s at issue; it’s the slow rate at which the high water recedes that’s worrisome; it leaves the pond vulnerable to flooding.

High water is normal in the spring from snow melt and rain, but the rain was little and late this spring. It was not until on March 7th that a full day of rain melted most of the remaining snow and produced localized flooding. There have been only brief showers since.

More than two weeks later, the pond finally returned to its normal level. In prior years, before the flood-induced silting of Chester Brook, that return to normalcy would have taken no more than several days.

See related posts: High Water*, High Water II*, Dead Fish, and Mono Lake*. See also permanent page: The Great Flood. Comments are welcome.

 

The water in the pond remains stubbornly high, almost as high as it was two weeks ago on March 9, when I wrote my first post on this subject. The Hardy Pond Slow Drainage Exhibit (pdf), at left, shows the small-scale flooding that now can result from just a few days of rain, when the water is high, and the reserve capacity of the pond’s watershed is near its limit. The bigger photos were all taken on December 15, 2010.

Chester Brook, the discharge channel for Hardy Pond, is now so impeded by sediment and bank erosion that it poses a clear and present danger. A prolonged, heavy rain could have devastating consequences, causing property loss on the scale of the great floods of last year, or worse. Yet there is no sense of urgency among city officials to address this major public safety issue.

At right, Hardy Pond Water Levels as Observed on Heron Rock (pdf), shows varying levels of the pond as seen against “Heron Rock.” “Normal” was the base level, as I judged it, before the floods of March 2010. The pond would usually return to that “normal” level within two or three days of a high water event.

See related posts: High Water* and Mono Lake*. See also the permanent page: The Great Flood. Click an image to enlarge it, or click the text reference to open a PDF of the image.
Comments are welcome.

 

Left: A view north toward Smith Point. Note trees in water. Middle: Southern shore of Smith Point, and Heron Rock. Bottom: View looking east from the center of Smith Point.

These photos of Smith Point were taken on March 8, 2011, a day after the winter’s snow finally melted. The massive melt, hastened by a day of rain, left the pond spilling over its banks in many places. A quarter of Smith Point was under water.

With the water so alarmingly high, and last year’s floods still fresh in memory, the sluggish flow of Chester Brook, the discharge channel for Hardy Pond, has become a matter of renewed concern. For years, the channel has been filling with sediment, but the two 100-year floods of March 2010 appear to have brought the flow almost to a full stop.

There has been discussion among City officials about cleaning out the channel, and an outside engineering study has recently recommended doing so. Of course, a project like this cannot be accomplished overnight. Riparian rights must be determined, plans drawn up, Conservation Commission approval obtained, funding found, and bids let before actual work can begin. The question is, can a sense of urgency be invoked?

Since last year’s major floods, the water level of Hardy Pond has been on average higher, the pond has spilled over its banks more often, and high water has receded more slowly — all directly tied to silting of the brook. The situation could lead to ever more destructive flooding if we’re hit by another extreme weather event, a possibility we can’t rule out in this era of climate change.

In addition to clearing of the outlet channel, the outside study outlined other steps to reduce flooding risk in the large Hardy Pond watershed. In an ideal world, they’d all be given priority as a matter of public safety, and completed without delay — so pond abutters and area residents could feel secure in their homes once again. That can happen only if the mayor and city council are aware of the issue and fully understand it. Getting that message across is our responsibility, all of us who care about Hardy Pond.

It is instructive to read what the study’s authors say about Chester Brook, revealing how relatively little it would take to remedy the situation:

We observed that Hardy Pond discharges to Chester Brook in the northeast corner of the pond which extends easterly adjacent to the Stearns Hill Road development and heads southerly along Lexington Street and ultimately flows toward the Charles River. The easterly portion of Chester Brook was observed to have standing water with little to no flow. We encountered a concrete control structure ( a rectangular weir) at the outfall from the pond to the Brook (see photo 2). Compared to known outlet elevations and water surface elevation at the time of the site visit we estimated that the weir elevation is set at an approximate elevation of 194.5′. We observed that the water surface elevation was approximately 13″ above the control elevation which indicates to us that there are likely other conditions downstream that are controlling the current water surface elevation.

Our site walks identified that Chester Brook shows some signs of side bank erosion and sedimentation (see photo 4) in the channel that is reducing the available cross section for conveyance in low flow conditions. We also observed two areas where large stones have been placed across the channel to create walkway paths. A worn path leads to and from each crossing, indicating these paths are frequently utilized by pedestrians. These crossings have effectively created a damming effect and are restricting flow (see photo 5).

We recommend removal of sedimentation accumulation and obstructions within Chester Brook and restoration of the full channel cross section. This maintenance task was also recommended in the Chester Brook Master Plan (Rizzo, 2002).

This action would likely require additional permits for work affecting wetlands, and within stream banks. We would recommend having a pre-application meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers, DEP and the Waltham Conservation Commission before fully pursuing this option. We would expect costs for this work would be around $280,000 and require cooperation from adjacent property owners. Ideal locations to access the Brook would require permission to access private properties such as Windsor Village development, or Papa Gino’s parking lot.

Coler & Colantonio, Inc.   DRAFT Hardy Pond Drainage Area Study, Waltham MA, October–November 2010 Excerpted from Pages 5, 6 & 14

See related posts: High Water II*, High Water III, Dead Fish, and Mono Lake*. See also permanent page: The Great Flood. Click an image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close. Comments are welcome.