Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's hot but we're out there!

This week was a good turnout despite the hot weather with 6 people helping out.  We pretty much finished removing the Canada Thistle but it wasn't easy, the patch of thistle was completely surrounded by thorny rose bushes.  It was hard to turn around and there wasn't a lot of space to work in.

We also discovered quite a few native trees that had been planted in recent years but they were pretty much buried among the Thistle, the Tansy and the rose bushes.  We quickly removed all of these to give more room to the trees and added a lot of mulch around the trees to help them with moisture.

Christine and Ty did a great job on the mulching.
Someone found this cute toad while working.

After I had finished with the Canada Thistle, I proceeded to work on the Tansy.  It's still fairly easy to pull it but I was also using a shovel to help digging it out. The branches are quite tall and it's easier to try to get a whole bunch at once.  It's a nice looking plant with a pretty color but I hate the smell of it so I really don't mind removing it.  I remember removing a lot of it when I used to be at Beechwood Wetland.

We also worked on Queen Anne's Lace or Wild Carrot.  Although it attracts insects, it's been listed as a noxious weed and is considered a serious pests in pastures.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The tansy and the thistle

Last week, we started tackling Canada Thistle and I thought we had quite a good handle on it.  I had been told that last year's stewardship team had worked extensively on this invasive.  Well as luck would have it I found a huge patch of it in another part of the site. We call it Canada Thistle here although it's not of Canadian origin, and it's also largely spread in other parts of the world and it's standard English name is "creeping thistle". It is considered a serious invasive species.

We also have quite a bit of Tansy that we started to dig out and pull.  It can spread quickly and is actually toxic.  In former centuries, people actually used to eat it or use as an herb flavouring for puddings and omelets.  I can't imagine using it in food as the smell is very pungent and one can get sick of the smell, let alone eating it.

Canada Thistle and Tansy

One method of removing it is to cut it at the stem.  However, we mostly tried to pull it.  Some of the plants though are too big and impossible to pull so we simply cut them at the base.

Our pile of compost is growing.

The northern part of the site.  There is wooded area at the back and it's a good spot to work especially in the hot weather of the last few weeks. 

The pond actually looks like one now with a good water level.

Swamp Milkweed

Friday, July 2, 2010

Back after 2 weeks

I'm back after missing stewardship for a couple of weeks.  There's been quite a bit of rain so the wetland actually looks like one. 
One of the plants now flowering along the edge of the pond is Swamp Milkweed.  It's a herbaceous plant native to North America.  Like most other milkweed, it has sap containing toxic chemicals that repels insects and herbivorous animals. It is found growing wild near the edges of ponds and is one of the plants that attract the Monarch Butterfly.
Swamp Milkweed

Once again this week, we headed to Chester Spring Marsh to continue removing invasives.  The site was also very wet and there were a lot of mosquitoes.  I found a huge patch of stinging nettle and I spent the best part of an hour removing it.

The grey area shows the level of water that covered the site after the Sunday night storm.  The area is very muddy.