There are now many invasives in the park that are constantly being removed such as porcelain berry and purple loosestrife. Also yellow flag Iris from Asia. There are multiple ponds that host lotus plants where the plants grow up from roots as well as reseeding from pods. In the fall and winter there is a lot of leaf litter. It is cut back to make the ponds look better during the growing season. Volunteers help clear the leaf litter and old stems. Apparently, all parts of the plant can be eaten – stems, leaves, and pods and some discussion of how to cook them went on among LDG members. Someone also told me that she had eaten sautéed lotus pods at a restaurant in DC.
As we rounded the back side of the park our guide, John, explained that the dying trees were probably Ash trees that had succumbed to the Emerald Ash Borer. They were waiting for all the trees to die so that the borer would no longer be present, before they replaced the trees. He also talked about the tidal marshland there that was being drained to control malaria in the time when Helen Shaw had taken over the park, around 1912. She was concerned about the wetlands so petitioned Congress to make the area a National Park, which did occur.
Near the back of the park there was also a pond with the giant Amazonia or Victoria water lilies which bloom mainly at night. Victoria amazonica is native to the shallow waters of the Amazon River basin. The large pads are quite delicate but can apparently hold a large amount of weight if it is distributed across the leaf pad using something like a sheet of plywood. The underside of the leaves have many spikes. Since these are not hardy in our climate, they must be replanted each year. There is an interesting video on Youtube that talks about how it blooms and is pollinated https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPR8kxTyG9Q
The tour ended with a trip through the gift shop and a small display of some of the history of the property.