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Posts Tagged ‘weeping willow trees’

Detroit’s Belle Isle Park is a big place. It spans about 950 acres, and it includes woodlands, canals, and small inland lakes and ponds. It is located in the middle of the Detroit River, one of the busiest waterways in the world. Canada is on the south side of the island and the city of Detroit is on the north. It is the largest island park of its kind in the U.S., and it was designed in the 1880s by Fredrick Law Olmstead, the same landscape architect that designed New York’s famous Central Park.

In addition to the winding streets and pathways that cut through the interior of the park, there is an outer ring road that circles the island. It is a 5-mile loop around the island starting and ending at the foot of the Belle Bridge that connects the island to Detroit’s mainland. It’s a beautiful, leisurely ride on a bicycle, especially in the early morning or late evening.

On the Northeast side of the island is a good-sized inland lake with beautiful blue water. Lining the shore of the lake are big, bushy Weeping Willow trees that stand around 70 feet tall. When I rode by there the other evening on a casual bike ride, the lake was still and calm, without a ripple to be seen.

Looking at the northeast end of the lake as I rounded a corner, I was immediately in awe of what I saw. The gently setting sun had highlighted the water’s deep blue color, and reflecting across the smooth surface was the vibrant green Weeping Willow trees. The reflections were a perfect crystal clear mirror image of what was growing on the banks of the lake. The reflections of the lake-lined trees were dreamlike in their beauty and surreal in their appearance. As the sun drifted lower, the effect slowly faded.

Here is a sampling of what I saw on that little lake on the island as I slowly pedaled by.

Belle Isle #5_7636

Belle Isle #3_7656

Belle Isle #6_7653

Belle Isle #4_7661

Belle Isle #2_7648

Belle Isle#1_7641

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Purple magnolia

The spring season seems to be flying by this year. Detroit had record high temperatures in March, and flowering plants poked out of the ground early on and have been blooming ever since.  The craggy magnolia trees showed their brilliant purple and white colors a head of time, and many of the fruit trees have blossomed, their petals have fallen and their limbs are now covered with leaves. I’m sure we’ve all noticed the changes as we drove through our neighborhoods or to our place of work.

The colorful blooms of crocus, daffodils and other early flowering plants such as the forsythias have come and gone. Tulips, dogwoods and other flowers and ornamental trees, which normally bloom in mid-May, have taken their place and are now at their peak. Lilac bushes are not far behind and are beginning to show their purple hues, as are many other late-blooming bushes and plants.

Tulips showing off their vibrant colors

A colorful array of ornamental trees

While bike riding over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that many of the spring flowers seemed to have appeared overnight and have disappeared just as fast.  Green and red leaves have filled in where colorful blooms once were. Grass has become vibrant green and has been growing quickly, creating fields in some areas of the city. Many of the yellow dandelions that recently covered the city fields have now gone to seed, and the white seed pods are being wind-blown, filling the air with little puffs of cotton aimlessly floating by. Shapeless, leafless shrubs are now full of leaves, and the golden-yellow leaves of Weeping Willow trees are slowly changing to green. At this year’s pace, it won’t be long before the wild rose bushes I see on my summer bike rides are in full bloom.

White blooms of a crabapple tree

Red bud trees along the banks of the Detroit River

The leaves of the birch trees are slowly filling in

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