Wildflowers along Pennswood Village paths

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Pennswood Village is a licensed continuing care retirement community in Newtown, PA. It is operated under Quaker philosophy and is located adjacent to The George School, a well-known Friends School (grades 9-12) that has been in operation since 1893. My mother has lived at Pennswood for nearly 15 years. I have walked the outdoor paths many times for fresh air and exercise, but on this occasion I took my camera and spent extra time enjoying the flowers: mostly wildflowers in the extensive front grounds, but also some cultivated flowers in a pretty, on-site community garden area. It is worth mentioning that Pennswood received a Community Greening Award from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in 2011 for the design and execution of the native landscaping in the front grounds.

A perimeter path goes where you might expect, basically around the perimeter of the property. There are also a couple of smaller loops in the front grounds. A full circuit of the outermost loop is about 1.5 miles. For this walk, I added several smaller loops and various detours and repeats, and my total distance ended up being about 3.5 miles.

GPS track

GPS track

I started at the main entrance, at the beginning of the extension at the center of the large loop in the GPS track, and headed generally toward the road at the front (east end) of the property. Almost immediately I came upon what I consider to be one of the signature wildflowers at Pennswood: milkweed, famous for being an important food source for monarch butterflies. Swamp milkweed seems to be a prevalent species of milkweed liked by monarchs. This walk was almost at the end of a month I spent at Pennswood, and I saw milkweeds at various stages of blooming, including what seemed to be a second, or even third, wave.

image of milkweed, food source for monarch butterflies

Milkweed, food source for monarch butterflies

Shortly thereafter I found this pretty flower with almost pink leaves at the base of the head.

picture of pink top flower, first view

Pink top flower, first view

And nearby there was another, I believe the same species, at a different stage of blooming. The leaves looked older, so I presume this is a later phase in the blooming cycle. I thought it was quite striking!

photo of pink top flower, second view

Pink top flower, second view

Also nearby was a fuzzy-topped thistle-like flower, a pretty light pink or lavender color.

image of fuzzy-topped thistle-like flower

Fuzzy-topped thistle-like flower

I took a short detour, just exploring along a path I hadn’t taken on previous walks, and discovered a community garden where residents had small plots planted with a nice variety of beautiful wildflowers and cultivated flowers. One striking example was this purple coneflower. I believe that the actual flowers are the tiny components of the ball at the top.

picture of purple coneflower

Purple coneflower

There were other flowers similar to asters or sunflowers. I think this is a gallardia. Although not related botanically, it reminds me a little bit of tidy tips that I have seen in the San Francisco Bay Area.

photo of gaillardia in the community garden

Gaillardia in the community garden

There were also some beautiful daylilies, both what I consider to be the traditional orange color and yellow.

image of yellow daylily

Yellow daylily

After enjoying the community garden I continued toward the road at the front of the grounds. Earlier in the month I had seen wild blackberries in flower, and it was interesting to note that the blossoms had already developed into berries. It seemed apparent that these berries would ripen at slightly different times.

picture of wild blackberries

Wild blackberries

There are several paths in the extensive front grounds of Pennswood, and I made several loops in this area. In one area I was startled to see several examples of a wildflower that had completed blooming and had striking tendrils extending in many directions from the former flower head. I don’t know what kind of flower this was, so I simply call it what it looks like: a bad hair day.

photo of “bad hair day” wildflower

“Bad hair day” wildflower

In the front grounds area there are small rainwater collection areas surrounded by areas with native grasses.

image of grasses in the front grounds of Pennswood

Grasses in the front grounds of Pennswood

I came across a plant on which a pair of insects were mating on one of the leaves. Their coloration is similar to that of lady bugs, but they have an elongated shape, so I think they must be a different type of small beetle.

picture of small beetles mating on a leaf

Small beetles mating on a leaf

The perimeter loop continues around the back of the residence buildings. Near the residences there were numerous dogwood trees, one of my favorite trees that I miss seeing in California. June seems to be the perfect time of year to enjoy the beautiful, profuse blossoms.

photo of beautiful dogwood tree near one of the residence buildings

Beautiful dogwood tree near one of the residence buildings

Along the back perimeter there is a short path that goes through a woodsy area, with wildflower plantings at the edge of the woodsy area. Here I found an unusual and striking yellow flower, almost like a coneflower whose head went wild. I haven’t been able to discover its correct name, so for now my descriptive name is yellow finger flower.

image of yellow finger flower, perhaps a coneflower?

Yellow finger flower, perhaps a coneflower?

Another short detour that I took on one of the passes around the perimeter loop is at the top center of the GPS track image. At the north side of Pennswood are the grounds of George School. As I approached the edge of the Pennswood property I was surprised to find a barn. I learned that it houses the horses that are part of George School’s equestrian program.

picture of barn that provides housing for neighboring George School’s horses

Barn that provides housing for neighboring George School’s horses

Near here there was also a small Pennswood-based bird sanctuary, with a pretty sign and several birdhouses. After a leisurely hour-and-a-half walk around the grounds, I finished and went indoors. What a wonderful resource for Pennswood residents! I know my mother enjoyed walking on the grounds for many years.

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One Response to Wildflowers along Pennswood Village paths

  1. Pingback: Newtown Wildflower Walk | trailhiker

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