Saturday, May 23, 2009

When you think you're done...

This week, we thought there was so little garlic mustard left, we would be done in 15 minutes and would have to look for something else to do. Well, we were in for a surprise when we realized that one of the higher slopes was literally covered with it. We haven't worked there much in the last couple of years and it clearly needed some attention. So, we took a few stewards up hill to tackle this task.

We got our arms (and buckets) full.

The only thing competing with it is (of course) our favourite, the infamous dog- strangling vine also known as swallow-wort.

The genus name is cynanchum . Cynanchum comes from Greek and means "to choke a dog". It's kind of depressing don't you think. But I wouldn't want to discourage anyone so soon, so I'll talk about it some other time.

Meanwhile, another group of stewards got acquainted with stinging nettle, a nasty herbaceous perennial flowering plant that owes its name to the fact that when a person brushes against it, they can get a stinging and burning sensation. Despite our best precautionary warnings, there are always one or two who get stung badly.

Stinging nettle

We're lucky to have a very enthusiastic team of stewards this year and we manage to have a lot of fun.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Garlic Mustard Month

I think we should officially declare the month of May Garlic Mustard Month, at least as far as the stewardship program is concerned. This highly invasive, non native, is everywhere on the site and we usually spend the better part of the month pulling it. It has round shaped, slightly wrinkled leaves that when crushed smell like garlic.

A new steward giving the thumb down to garlic mustard.

The new stewarship season brings both new and returning stewards.

The slope where we worked extensively last year had less garlic mustard this year, although it acquired a few tulips from the slope next door. We think the squirrels might have had had something to do with their displacement.

As usual at this time of the year, the ponds appear quite clear but we know it's just a matter of weeks before they become murky again with duckweed.

The gardening folks at Riverdale have gone all out with the tulips.

Alliaria petiolata or garlic mustard