If you weren't previously aware, bulrushes act as a biofilter working hard to clean the water. In 1947, a woman by the name of Dr. Käthe Seidel (who would later be referred to as Bulrush Kate) extensively studied the effects of bulrushes on polluted waters and through years of research, proved that "the plants adapted to even the most extreme water conditions and contributed to the improvement of the water quality." Dr. Seidel also found that "since the plants also secrete antibacterial substances, the water in which they are employed for treatment purposes actually becomes potable." (Max Planck Research Institute Flashback 3/2004) The process has been expanded and is called the 'Krefeld System' after the laboratory in which Dr. Seidel worked.
After seeing what effect a small lift in elevation could have at this point, we started a list of features for the garden that need to be incorporated in future stages to make for an interesting visit. The Gardens after all will not only be a demonstration of innovative food production but will also demonstrate sustainable practices. How lucky for us that those lagoons just happen to be our immediate neighbours!
Then it was off down the Rail Trail. In a time when mass transit is becoming more and more important, it is a bit challenging to believe that the decades of work involved in building our rail systems has been given over to hundreds of miles of walking trails. However, we do need to value the sacrifice and make the best use possible of the land that once carried people and products to their far away destinations.
The Garden site is just about a 100 feet to the Rail Trail and what a wonderful food trek it turned out to be! Even late in October with a few strong frosts behind us, there were hundreds of apples still on the dozens of trees in the short distance we travelled by foot. We found at least 4 varieties and ate the most scrumptious fruit - bug free, wormless and absolutely delicately flavoured - like something reminiscent of Grandma's orchard.
Although we filled ourselves with apples, they weren't the only foods along the course. There were wild roses all over the place! Rose hips hung from their canes like huge cherries and raspberry canes arched over the grassy slopes with past promises of sweetness.
It seems real work always gets in the way of life's simple pleasures but how lucky both of us were to have this little pinnacle moment to share and enjoy.
Stay with us. You'll be yearning to come to Ripley and the Gardens. This can be one of your fond memories too.