Six on Saturday – No Flo – September 22, 2018

Tuesday, the day the remnants of Hurricane Florence hit our part of the mid-Atlantic region I spent the morning on Poplar Island. Clouds in the photos below were all we got. Some rain was predicted but we didn’t get any until the afternoon and it was minimal. We are all so grateful we were not in Florence’s direct path.

My Six on Saturday starts with Poplar Island. Here’s the backstory.

Poplar Island was a 1140 acre, crescent shaped island in the Chesapeake Bay in 1847. It had a town called Valliant which included a school, a post office, a church, a sawmill, a general store and about 100 residents.  Erosion ate away at the island and by 1920 the last permanent resident had gone. By 1990 the island had been reduced to 5 acres.  In a joint project of the U.S. Army Corps and Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the island has been recreatedt using dredged materials from the Chesapeake Bay’s approach channels to Baltimore where there is a thriving port. Dredged materials from Baltimore harbor are not used because they are contaminated.  Poplar Island is now back to 1140 acres with an additional 575 acres planned. This is the Wikipedia link if you want more information.

  1. Our group from the St. Michaels Woman’s Club boarded a boat on Tilghman Island for the twenty minute ride to Poplar Island. We started the tour with a guide who gave us an introduction and then boarded the bus for an informational trip around the island. The garden pictured is maintained by Maryland Master Gardeners. The mosquitos were ferocious.


2. Tours are free and this was my fifth trip over the last ten years. The island has changed dramatically since my original visit when the island was comprised of “cells” waiting to receive dredged materials. Now the island is lush with native plant material. One hundred and seventy-five species of birds use the island, but the biggest wildlife success is the terrapin hatchlings which have a 99% survival rate because there are no foxes or racoons on the island – yet. Typical terrapin hatchling survival rate is 10%. Some baby terrapins are fostered by selected school classes and the kids return to Poplar island for an emotional release of the turtle they named and raised. Eventually the island will be a wildlife refuge of half wetlands and half uplands and will be closed to the public.


3. This view shows work on the projected additional 575 acres. Most of the island looked like this when I first visited.



My final three photos are from my garden.

4. Hyacinth bean vines are still blooming but are also creating beautiful, glossy purple pods.

5. The butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) plant’s airborne seeds are flying.


6. Six feet tall (even after a fourth of July cutting back to half), this aster is just coming into bloom. Another plant that someone gave me. I don’t know the name and when I googled tall asters none of those listed grew this tall. Another shorter aster hasn’t started blooming yet. It needs to hurry up.


That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

16 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – No Flo – September 22, 2018

  1. Another FANTASTIC Saturday info!!!!! Thank you.

    On Sat, Sep 22, 2018, 5:08 AM Does This Font Make Me Look Fat? wrote:

    > Mala Burt posted: “Tuesday, the day the remnants of Hurricane Florence hit > our part of the mid-Atlantic region I spent the morning on Poplar Island. > Clouds in the photos below were all we got. Some rain was predicted but we > didn’t get any until the afternoon and it was mini” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Does the stone that limits erosion on the filled cell get moved out to the next cell as it gets filled, or does the stone just get buried with dredge material? It would be expensive to move it, but it would also be expensive to just leave it there to get buried.
    The Santa Clara Valley sank a few feet as ground water was pumped out from under it a very long time ago. Prior to that, the San Francisco Bay (between San Francisco and San Jose, collected silt from the hydraulic mining in the Sierra Nevada during the Gold Rush. This is why the dredging of the Guadalupe River, Coyote Creek and the canal down the middle of the San Francisco Bay are so important.
    There was a proposal many decades ago, before many of us knew much about the environment, that involved literally filling the San Francisco Bay with San Bruno Mountain! The limiting factor was the proposed cost of the fuel needed for machinery to move the mountain into the Bay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My understanding is that there is an outer ring of stones that is the perimeter of the island (as it will be) but I don’t know about the stones that are now at the water’s edge. I would imagine they would stay depending on whether they adjoin a wetland or an upland. I know that in other places there are cuts between the wetland cells. Once the cells are made they have to dry before they can be filled. But the seeing the progress has been remarkable. Other places on the bay have subsidence issues so I’m sure that is part of the equation when rebuilding Poplar Island.

      Liked by 1 person

      • When it is done in the San Francisco Bay, the equivalent of stone is left and just buried by the next phase. However, it is not stone. It is broken concrete that must be disposed of anyway.


    • Apparently the terrapin releases are quite emotional for the children and many sing the turtles into the bay. We were told that one group brought the ukeleles they were learning to play and seranaded their turtle before letting it go.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved this post. So very interesting, & nice to see efforts at expanding nature. Can’t believe how much the island eroded in such a short time. Thought I could relax, because of this, but then you posted a photo of your hyacinth bean vine, which was new to me & is now on my annual list for next year. Can’t escape it, the impulse to get new plants.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The hyacinth bean is in memory of a friend who died. Each year she would start seeds for me. At her memorial service I made little packets of seeds from her plants and gave them to people who wanted to grow them. So many of her friends now have plants from her original gift to me.


      • Now that’s a lovely story. A bit of her life passed on through a beautiful plant. If I’m successful w/mine, I’ll think of you & your friend, now. How could I not?

        Liked by 1 person

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