Boy, can we throw a party. A group gathered Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, to celebrate the new gardens and the people who made them happen.
Party in the new gardens: Nora Sadler, left (white shirt), offers a warm welcome and praise for all who contributed. Please note the plastic-knives-as-floral displays on the table.
Brandywine Conservancy Executive Director Virginia Logan spoke briefly and thanked all for helping to “give birth to a giant dream.” And then she started talking about building more gardens! She introduced the campaign’s architect, Mark Gormel, calling him “the man of the hour.”
There was “more than a year’s worth of planning” to get us to this moment, Gormel said. The Brandywine Wildflower Journal thought he was referring to the fantastic party. In a way, he was. But he was also reminding us that this was a monumental, historic undertaking and accomplishment for the Conservancy.
For those who couldn’t attend the celebration (have no fear, BWJ is already trying to talk up another party), here’s what else you missed: The beverages weren’t the only things flowing.
Brandywine Creek was rising. All around us.
Talk about wet feet: Some plants–these red cardinal flowers included–like to get wet. About a half hour before this photo was taken, we were standing near them for a group photo. And the ground was dry.
The evening was otherwise spectacular, but the Chester County area experienced torrential rains earlier in the day.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey monitors, the Conservancy campus got about an inch and half of rain. But, upstream, near Downingtown, Pa., there was nearly 4 inches of precipitation.
At 7 a.m., Tuesday, with storms all around, the creek level at the campus was about 2 1/2 feet. At 6:30 p.m., when we packed up the party and made a hasty retreat (roads were closed, and Rt. 1 was poised to follow), the level was 11.34 feet and rising.
Feeling unwanted? A coiled red hose used for watering the new plants defiantly holds its ground as the creek rises.
As we could see, that’s well into flood stage. Around 8:30 that night, it appears to have peaked around 11.71 feet, according to USGS. At 9 p.m., it was 11.69 feet. At 6:30 a.m., Wednesday morning, it was down to 4.57 feet.
Liquid refreshment for people and plants this week. Some of those new plants we just put in like a little extra water, actually. On Thursday, Aug. 15, Gormel called the event a baptism and says the plants appear to be doing fine.
Other than a thin coating of silt on some, he says, “they are all in place, upright and reaching for the sky!”
–John O. Buckley