Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wet season

We have seen a lot of rain so far this summer and we have had at least three outings when we got completely soaked.  We had to stop early a couple of times because the soil becomes too muddy and by trampling it, we actually do more damage than good. However, we did some plantings and it was a lot easier to dig and the plants are looking very good. We planted chokecherry, sugar maple, witch hazel and dogwood.
Sugar Maple (unfortunately, DSV is creeping up its ugly head in the picture)

We also started to work in the forest behind the site and we removed quite a bit of buckthorn and Manitoba Maple
Buckthorn leaves

 The garlic mustard and DSV are, of course, rampant as usual but we have managed to keep it off the fenced area.  By removing it all along the outside area of the forest, we can control it better.
Digging out Manitoba Maple seedlings

The wet weather and the cooler temperature also means that there is more water in the pond and it looks pretty good.  Usually, by this time of the year, it would be all dried up.
This area normally only has water for the first couple of weeks in May. 
The weather was great last week and it was nice to see the blue sky reflected in the pond.
Last week, we also saw a pretty white moth in the forest.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Todmorden Mills

 This year, I  decided to join the stewardship team at Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve. There has been a stewardship team at that site since the early 1990s. It is not part of the City stewardship program but some of the people involved are the same. This team has been working together for several years and they are very knowledgeable.

The site has been the subject of surveys by botanists and 11 rare species have been identified in the Preserve. These include a sedge, two trees (Red Cedar and Slippery Elm) and herbaceous plants, most of which live in wetland habitats. One, the Skunk Cabbage, is quite common at Todmorden Mills. It is one of the plants that come out first in the very early spring. 

May apple
The site has a lot of invasive species that need to be removed like other sites in the Don Valley but because it has been maintained for a longer period by a team of stewards, it is in much better shape than other sites. There is also a number of planting events throughout the season with university students coming in and taking part in the events. 

So far, this year, I have planted oak shrubs and cedar trees. 

There are 2 ponds around the preserve providing great habitat for the wildlife. The water also prevents the site from becoming dried up. 
Bloodroot, one of the many wildflower found on the preserve
Forest and woodland wildflowers include spring ephemerals such as Jack-in-the-pulpit and Skunk Cabbage, which have survived from the original forests, Others such as White Trillium, Bloodroot and Wild Columbines have been reintroduced and have established. Marsh and swamp wildflowers of note include Marsh Marigold, Turtlehead and Spotted Jewelweed.


There are 114 trees and shrub species in the Preserve. The most abundant native trees are: American elm, Eastern cottonwood, Trembling Aspen, Sugar Maple, White Ash, Silver Maple, and Eastern White Cedar.