Trillium on a rainy day













The rail-trail from Penn Yan to Dresden is a favorite spot for Amish families and courting couples on a Sunday afternoon. I’ve posted a bit about this trail before – – a former canal/railroad bed alongside a creek that runs from Keuka Lake into Seneca Lake. It’s too bad, really, with a bit of planning, they could’ve connected Keuka to Cayuta to Cayuga, just so we could do our Abbott & Costello thing for the tourists wanting directions. The little valley is a recovering industrialist, with the old-time dams and limestone block mills crumbling away nicely, and the more recent brick and concrete structures following suit.




Full disclosure of favoritism in invasive species. I like seeing the spring snowflakes, which have naturalized in the marshy areas along the creek. The background is a mass of garlic mustard, which I do not like, and which seems to be really taking over the woods in the area.






FLX, hiking, Nature, NY, Uncategorized, United States, Upstate New York

Walks Around the Finger Lakes. Penn Yan to Dresden. Early May


45 thoughts on “Walks Around the Finger Lakes. Penn Yan to Dresden. Early May

  1. I had to look up the garlic mustard to see if it’s in the family of wild garlic. Both are very good for pesto, I love the latter and I’m always on the lookout for plants for the garden. Friends always warn me to be careful though, it could easily take over and grow out of control, which is obviously what’s happening in the forest here. Lovely photography, Robert. The third from the bottom is my favourite, well done.

    • Thanks so much, Dina. Just yesterday, I read a column about the garlic mustard pesto, and I’m thinking it would be great 1/2&1/2 with basil. But in the region I grew up, it’s more than a nuisance, it’s really swamped some woods, and taken over the undergrowth entirely.
      A few years ago, the state began importing some beetles from Europe,to help control the purple loosestrife in the marshes, but I’m not aware of any programs to control the mustard.

      • Honestly, it’s baffling to me that we continue to do things like import critters to solve problems given the current record which exists of reinforcements turning around on a regular basis simply creating entirely new issues. Nesting dolls of issues. I’m perhaps more than just a little naive. Definitely not my field of expertise. It’d be fascinating to know what the prevailing, emerging wisdom holds on that, these days. Do appreciate your Trillium here and it brings to mind a place I like to go on the Oregon coast (haven’t been there in some time, though) with the most incredible blankets of the stuff I’ve ever seen in my life.

        • I have not just a limited knowledge of science, but actually negative knowledge, since I’d have to un-learn a lot of half-remembered superstitions, and less than half-understood scattershot readings. If I remember right, Cornell was handing the loosestrife beetles out to whoever came to the meetings. PA and NY are also releasing predatory beetles and silver flies to control the adelgids attacking hemlock trees, etc. I hadn’t realized until I looked them up, that the Western Silver Fly they’re trying, is from your neck of the woods. I guess we hope it’s better than that guy who imported gypsy moths to crossbreed with silkworms, or the DDT fog trucks of the ’50’s, etc.

        • Me too, Tyrannosaurus — I know there’s probably been lots of times that solutions like that have worked, but seems like in the very long run there’s always a problem. Great post, Robert – beautiful & you’ve got us thinking!

      • Good morning, dear Robert,
        we dug out our garlic mustard plant yesterday because we were afraid of its spreading. Amazing how easy it was getting it off the ground. There are no deep roots.
        As Dina already wrote, we really like your pictures.
        Wishing you a happy day
        The Fab Four of Cley

        • Thank you, Klausbernd. I’ve been reading a bit about the allelopathic plants, and discovering that they have a habit of poisoning their neighbors has added to my dislike. So I’ll make a point of yanking some out of the dirt during each walk. Thanks for you comment, always glad to hear from you wonderful folks, RPT.

      • What a coincidence; in the garden a little bit later I thought it was about time to find out what kind of plant was taking up too much room amongst the herbs. I used the plant net app to identify it and I had to laugh as I read; garlic mustard! 🙂 It was almost a meter high with flowers and Klausbernd and I then watched a video about the plant and dug it out. 🙂

        • I haven’t tried it yet, but if it makes a nice pesto (I’m thinking it might be a very strong flavor) perhaps the restauranteurs will go out and clean up the forests for us. 🙂

    • Thank you Michael. These were random snapshots that I’d loaded on WP for a post that never got posted, but I decided to just put them up on their own. “Quietly beautiful” is very apt. I haven’t seen much of Wisconsin yet, but driving west past Madison, stretches reminded me of central NY

    • Thanks, Neil. I’m not really sure of the population, about 20,000 scattered all over the state, and growing pretty fast. There’s also lots of Mennonite farmers. Most are folks who ran out of land near Lancaster, etc. but I think the Amish and Schwenkfelders in the “north country” near the St. Lawrence come from Ohio.

  2. So you got a thrillium from the trillium.

    An Adirondack website offers this information about the plant I assume is the problem:
    Common Name: Garlic mustard
    Scientific Name: Alliaria petiolata
    Origin: Europe
    Description: Garlic mustard is a biennial herb and grows as a rosette of kidney shaped leaves in the first year. The second-year plant can grow multiple stems up to four feet with triangular, sharply-toothed leaves. In May, four-petaled, white flowers grow in clusters at the top of the stem. Garlic mustard produces a multitude of seeds, which can remain viable for seven years or more.

  3. J.D. Riso says:

    Oh the joy of the first delicate flowers of spring. Still waiting for them here in northern Michigan…

    • Really appreciating springtime this year.
      My hometown in NY is the same latitude as Milwaukee, where I’m living now, but winter hangs around a bit longer here.

    • I’ve had that feeling during a lot of my life! 😉 A few years ago, when I was looking at old colonial-era buildings in the Hudson Valley, I realized that the old-time carpenters used to do exactly that sometimes, I suppose they held better, or it allowed for expansion in wet weather, I’ll have to ask an architect

    • Thanks Kevin! Hope everything is going great in California! We’re almost completely thawed out around here, most of the polar bears & penguins have left town!

  4. Trilliums are among my favorite so I was happy to see that you’ve got yours too. The garlic mustard not so much. It’s a problem all over New England and your mention tells me that it’s the Northeast’s problem. I am told that it tastes good but I don’t want any in our garden for sure.
    Not all non-native invasives are to be feared. One of my favorites is Tansy. It’s not very aggressive so its appreciation is excusable. Ox-eye Daisies too.
    Thanks for the nice walkabout.

      • Guilt-free indeed. I don’t forage, not even a single blueberry, because we have food aplenty easily obtained and the wild food might be the difference of survival for the beasties.

        • I remembered your stance on that, Steve. If you ever wanted to make an exception, I really think this is it – – I looked at a bunch of state environmental sites, etc. and it looks like manually digging them out, is the only way. If a “pesto patrol” would clear out a wood lot, apparently that would be all to the good, for the beasties.

  5. Someone should take all that garlic mustard and bury it behind a brick wall. But stay clear of that wall on dark nights, you might hear something ominous…

  6. Everyone has trilliums — and I’m so glad. They’re a beautiful flower, and it’s been great fun to see the different approaches people take to photographing them. I especially like yours, because it shows the stems and leaves. When the flowers are only photographed from the “top down,” or are presented in those wonderful closeups, it’s easy to think the blooms sprout directly from the ground.

    I laughed at the exchange about the mustards. This was quite a year for the stuff here, and it does take over. But what I enjoyed most was seeing the snowflakes, and getting an ID for those. Believe it or not, I found exactly ONE of those flowers growing along the edge of a border at Ima Hogg’s old plantation house. I suspect it’s a relic of a garden planting, though how long it’s been around, I can’t say. I remembered seeing it from other New England posts, but couldn’t quite put my mental finger on what it was. Now I know, and can show the pretty (and unique for us) little thing.

    • I get the little white bell-shaped flowers mixed up, and don’t see this one too often – – the little green dots make it easy, but I keep thinking Snowdrop, which is completely different I guess. Well, it’s ok, I like all of ’em!

  7. This is so beautiful, Robert, like an elegy. I agree about the two invasives….your trillium photo is glorious….I love the bricked up hole in the brick and concrete wall, and love that you interspersed all of these together. We have a yellow mustard that’s invasive, but when I rented a little cottage in Norwalk, CT on the Silvermine River, I spent time yanking out garlic mustard, It was satisfying. Stream of consciousness here, sorry…I hope all is well with you.

    • Thank you, Lynn, I’m well, working a lot, summer is the busiest time for my office, and I haven’t ventured much out of Milwaukee, but I will post soon about going to Taliesin, which is west of Madison. I’ve actually pulled and rinsed two bowlfuls of garlic mustard, to try it as pesto, and then got called away and ended up chucking them out, but this weekend for sure.

      • 🙂 From my memory, I didn’t like the smell, but I trust you will make something wonderful, and I remember you were going to try half and half anyway. I look forward to hearing about Taliesin – I’ve never been there – I bet you’ll have a great time.

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