Maple Ridge is a ridge of mostly north-facing woods across the road from our original farm. We bought it in two parts – one in May of 2012, and one in the summer of 2014.
Most of our hillsides are at least partially south facing, so Maple Ridge adds north-facing woods habitat to our property. Because it’s so steep, it’s pretty undamaged. I’m sure it has been logged, but not for a long time, so the plants on the ground, under the trees, are all natives. Except for asian honeysuckles, there are few non-native shrubs, and the woods are open and easy to walk through.
At the west end of the parcel, our property line crosses the ridge and includes a south-facing hillside. There are small, very overgrown, prairie remnants sprinkled over this slope.
This is the view looking north into the woods from the road. There are large bushes – Nannyberry, dogwood, and non-native honeysuckle lining the road. The ditch has mostly native wetland species, and a few patches of Reed Canary Grass.
Here’s a view of the hillside looking from the top of Sumac Prairie – directly across the road. The cleared fields with the planted pines still belong to our neighbor. Maple Ridge begins to the right of the pines, and goes to the top of the ridge.
Here are some views inside the woods.
In May, the floor of the woods is covered with ferns and Wild Geraniums.
The larger trees are white and red oaks, sugar and red maple, and basswood. There are numerous Hickory seedlings on the floor of the woods, but I’ve only found one mature Bitternut Hickory. There are also small elms, cherries, and box elder.
Besides tree seedlings, the floor of the woods has large groupings of ferns – Interrupted, Maiden-hair, and Lady fern – and Rue Anemone, and Wild Geranium.
A big, old White Oak with Interrupted Ferns and Wild Geranium
Maidenhair Fern and Wild Geranium
Scarlet Tanagers nest in the woods.
There’s one large grove of Sugar Maples, with ferns and Trillium growing under them.
An overgrown trail through the woods
A prairie opening on the south-facing slope
Overgrown prairie opening
We’ve started doing a little clearing of the prairie openings, and we’re seeing some prairie flowers come back.
Here are a few of the plants that grow on Maple Ridge, but are absent or unusual on the rest of our land.
Early Meadow Rue
Dwarf Red Raspberry