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.

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