Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bushes in bloom

The bushes in the 95 planting area are in bloom. The lilac and honeysuckle above are quite pretty. The one-seed hawthorn (below) is also very showy. In the picture at bottom a bee and a flesh fly are visiting the much less showy european buckthorn.

Squirrel eating maple keys

The silver maples in the 95 planting area are producing a heavy crop of seeds. This black squirrel was very busy gorging on the silver maple keys.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

and suddenly Summer

The trilliums seem to be holding their own against the garlic mustard. There are seven trilliums flowering in the patch rescued back in 2010. The hot and dry weather over the past week has compressed spring. The trees are leafing out already. The crabapples are blooming as are the wild plum back in the corner and the serviceberry. In addition to the trilliums and garlic mustard pictured above, there are dandelions, yellow rocket, forget-me-nots, violets and wild strawberry blooming.

Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle (Coccinella septempunctata)

Last year I don't think I saw one of these traditional looking lady bugs; this is the second one I spotted this year. Last year about this time I saw loads of the twelve-spotted lady bugs that aren't so hemispherical and are a paler shade of red. I haven't seen any of those yet this year.

A troop of scouts have planted a bunch of pine seedlings in the 2011 area. The place needed it as many of the evergreen trees had not survived the past two summers of drought. I'm not sure how well the new trees will do. The scouts seem to have just sliced the sod with a spade and then dropped the seedling into the groove without much thought of trying to match the soil depth or using loose soil to pack in the root ball and avoid air pockets.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Crocuses and garlic mustard

Spring has arrived and in three weeks it has gone from snow to shorts weather. Someone planted a few crocuses along the fence by Newhaven. They popped up within a week of the last snowfall.

Crocuses are foreigners but they aren't exactly invasive. Not invasive like the garlic mustard below. That stuff carpets parts of the 1995 forest. The Fletcher Wildlife Garden blog has a good article about this invasive plant. You can't really do much about it unless you're willing to commit yourself long term to the eradication. I'm not so inclined, the more I learn about the environment the more I realize that almost everything I see around me is a newcomer. The garlic mustard is going to elbow its way in just as the dandelion, the plantain, the wild parsnip, the buckthorn, the honeysuckle and the wild carrot did before it. Even the rabbits and cardinals are newcomers to this area. Hopefully the garlic mustard will reach a balance and leave room for the other spring ephemerals.

This evening it was warm and pleasant when I went out at dusk to the berm area. I saw bats flying overhead catching insects on the wing. Every year I go out at dusk on a warm spring evening to see the bats. They move so quickly in the gloom just above the tree tops of the newly planted trees, it gives a bit of a thrill to spot them. They, at least, are one native that appreciate the naturalization area we planted. Then I stood still just inside the edge of the 1995 forest. Earthworms were all about, rustling the leaves from previous years. Everything is springing back to life and while this roadside patch of ground might be filled with foreigners and invasives like crocuses and garlic mustard, it is still exciting after a long winter to feel the pulse of life quicken around you.