Summer is a wonderful time to visit Horn Pond. A walk around the Pond or Lagoon any time of day, even after sunset (think moonrise) will reward you with fascinating wildlife, lovely flowers, beautiful views, and breathtaking sunsets.
From the 4th of July till September the wildlife and wildflowers are in great abundance. Migratory birds such as Herons can be found in the Lagoon and outback in the Cattail Marsh as well as in the Pond. If the weather stays dry and the level of the water drops, we get an even wider variety of birds as the long legged waders are joined by some short legged waders. The skies are host to hawks, osprey, kingfishers, and a host of other small birds.
To me the start of the summer is when the Philadelphia Wood Lily blooms on the front side of Horn Pond Mountain around the 4th of July! This lovely orange lily is only found in this one spot at Horn Pond.
From July on the parade of wildflowers is constant. Some are very small and most would consider them just weeds. But take a closer look and you will be amazed at what you see!
We also have many shrubs that bloom in the summer. Some are native like the American Elder (of Elderberry Wine fame !!!) and some are alien invasive species like Multi-flora Rose (a pretty and fragrant climber that can smother other plants it gets so thick).
"Autumn is a Second Spring, Where Every Leaf is a Flower" ~ Albert Camus
New England is a perfect place to be in Autumn, and Horn Pond is the perfect place for enjoying this "end of the year show"! Early morning brings golden light that accentuates the colors of the Red Maple found around the Lagoon and along the Causeway. When the water is still 'summertime warm' and the night turns cold, the morning will bring mist rising from the quite waters and the world wakes up to a colorful picture indeed!
The Red Maples are the first to turn here at Horn Pond, and are soon followed by the bright yellow of Birch, Aspen, Cottonwood and Hickory, and the dark red to brown of the Oak.
Flowers are still blooming and many different Asters can be found around the area. White is the most popular color with lavenders and brighter purples adding to the mix.. They range in height from the tiny light lavender Stiff Aster that only grows about 6 to 12 inches to the deep pinky-purple New England Wild Aster that can grow up to 7 feet! Add to this the bright yellow of the Jerusalem Artichoke, a native Sunflower, and the many and varied Goldenrods. Contrary to popular belief, Goldenrod is not what people are allergic to. It is a very inconspicuous little greenish flower called Ragweed that really is the true culprit. Goldenrods just have the bad luck of blooming around the same time!
Winter! I love it when it snows at Horn Pond! If you walk out back in the Re-claimed Sandpit when it is still snowing, all the sounds of civilization fade away and you can actually hear the snow falling! Horn Pond is a magical place in the winter. Not just in the sandpit, but anywhere you walk after a snowfall, the world is changed into a white wonderland!
A clear late winter morning after a few inches of wet sticky snow the night before has had me mesmerized. Or a walk around the Lagoon brings you to a most picturesque view of a red bridge in white snow! The scene can change depending on whether or not the water froze before the snow fell. The Pond can be much more peaceful in the winter after the crowds are gone and it is just the diehard walkers.
The road around the Pond is plowed after it snows, so walking the Pond is always an option. Around the Lagoon and out back is a haven for snowshoers and cross-country skiers. And they usually beat a suitable path for walking on, so unless the snow is very deep, you can get almost everywhere around the area.
It is definitely worth a trip to experience Horn Pond in the winter!
Spring comes slower out in nature than it does in your home garden. The snowdrops in my garden usually bloom in March, (even the end of February if there is no snow on the ground), but out in the woods the earliest you will see blooms is usually mid April. Up in the woods to the north-west of the Lagoon, on a rocky outcrop, you can find Early Buttercup and Early Saxifrage. These two spring beautifies start the parade which continues through most of the spring in the woods until the trees leaf out and start shading the ground.
In this same area over the course of the next couple of months you will see New England Wild Columbine, Pink Lady Slippers and many other spring bloomers.
Down at the water look for Blue Flag Iris and Yellow Water Iris in the spring. The spring flower show culminates with the roses (the alien white Multi-flora and the native pink Swamp Rose) and then we start to see the summer bloomers by the end of June.
Also down at the water look for the Eastern Painted Turtles out sunning themselves on logs when the weather starts to warm up. And who hasn't heard the incessant racket of the Spring Peepers once the warm weather arrives!
And of course spring is the time for mating and babies for mammals as well as amphibians! The songbirds are making a racket looking for mates and soon Ducklings, Goslings and Cygnets will start making an appearance in the Lagoon and in the Pond.