Nature in Groveport
By Rick Palsgrove
One does not have to go to a park or a remote rural area to enjoy a nature walk as I have found while taking walks in the residential neighborhoods of Groveport that plants and wildlife abound in a small town.
Depending on the season – from the busiest streets to the quietest alleys and from the oldest parts of town to its newest neighborhoods – one can find wonderful beds of bright flowers as well as a bounty of blooming bushes and leafy trees.
It’s nice to be familiar with where peonies pop up in yards in the spring and where the day lilies shoot up in late summer. It’s fun to watch for magnolia trees blooming in spring and maples glowing orange in the autumn sun. In winter one can hear the bare tree limbs softly clacking into each other in the wind.
When seen from above in aerial photos, or if you are in a plane or some other high up place, Groveport can look like a forest because of its many trees. A while back I ran some photos in the Messenger taken by Groveport Police Lt. Josh Short from atop Groveport Town Hall and was struck by the view over the neighborhoods of how thick and lush the tree canopy is in town.
It’s not just well cared for flower beds and such that are pleasurable natural sights. One can also come across wild beauty in the forms of grasses, wildflowers, and thistles that sprout up from cracks in pavement or along the edges of sidewalks and streets.
One summer a friend of mine and I while out on our walks enjoyed watching the growth of a magnificent thistle that had sprouted up along a sidewalk. The thistle grew tall with magnificently long, sharp needles. It looked fierce, proud, and defiant. We named it,
“Cactus Bro.” It’s gone now, no doubt cut down in its prime by some lawn implement, and we lamented its passing, but it was something to see.
Animals abound in town. Squirrels scurry, rabbits hop, chipmunks dart, birds sing and soar, and butterflies flutter. At times I have spotted skunks walking down the middle of a street like they owned the place, raccoons out for late night snack runs, and opossums peering about among the houses and yards. I’ve even seen a fox dancing at the town’s edge and have heard coyotes singing off in the distance south toward the creek.
Sunlight and moonlight illuminate all of these natural wonders. With each season the angle of the light from the sky changes giving one a fresh perspective on what one sees.
It’s all too beautiful.
The beauty of Palm’s Pond
By Rick Palsgrove
I recently wrote a column for the Messenger about taking nature walks within the neighborhoods of Groveport, but I realized I omitted one of the nicest natural settings to be found in this walkable town.
That place is Palm’s Pond, located just south of the Groveport Log House in Heritage Park, 551 Wirt Road.
The pond was created from an existing wetland area by the city of Groveport in the early 2000s. According to information previously obtained from the Groveport Public Works Department, the pond’s area itself encompasses about 1 acre; the pond at its deepest point is about 28 feet; and it is stocked with fish annually by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Fish are not the only thing one can spot in the pond as on sunny days turtles can be viewed sunning themselves on a log that protrudes from the water.
Taking a walk around the pond on the gravel path is a pleasant, peaceful experience. The one-half to three-quarter mile path gives one several perspectives to view the pond. The path’s outer edge is lined with trees with bird houses visible in places among the branches. There is also a wetland area that can be seen just west of the path.
The pond is tucked away enough that traffic noise is minimal, which allows one to hear the birds sing and the wind rustle the tree leaves. There are also well placed benches where one can sit to watch sunrises and sunsets. If one is an aviation fan it is also a good spot to watch planes as they descend to land at Rickenbacker Airport.
Palm’s Pond is a great place to walk to note the changing seasons. Interestingly the blanket of snow in early February enabled me to see the tracks of various wildlife that inhabit the pond and its surrounding area. I spotted the tracks of squirrels, rabbits, birds, deer, and raccoons.
The happiest tracks I see are those of people’s pet dogs who come with their owners to the pond to playfully romp and give their canine sniffers a workout taking in all the wild scents.
The dogs’ paw prints range from large to small. Isn’t it amazing how many different varieties of dogs there are, yet down deep each dog still thinks it is a wolf no matter how much we spoil them? I am always happy to see people walking their dogs around the pond and usually whenever I am there for a stroll I see a happy dog or two.
In a nod to Groveport’s agricultural past and the orchards that were once present in town in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Groveport Parks Department planted 30 apple trees near Palm’s Pond a few years ago. The trees offer a variety of apples including Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Wealthy, Haralred, Gravenstein, Honey Crisp, Red Delicious, Zestar, Gala, and McIntosh. The hope is to use some of the apples from these trees at future Apple Butter Day festivals. Visit the orchard and check out the trees’ growth. This mini-orchard can be found in the northeast corner of the pond area.
Palm’s Pond is grand in its simplicity. The sky, water, grass, and trees. What could be better?