Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wasteland Nature Walk

On Tuesday morning, Ida the dog and I walked down the hill our house sits on into the valley below.  The hill is shale, fill, bits of blown in trash and a blanket of Japanese Knotweed in the summer but the knotweed is just sprouting up now.  The land isn't a lush forest or a healthy meadow, but it is supporting life nonetheless.  The plants growing along our walk are mostly opportunists.  Weeds, if you will, or extremely invasive species (Japanese Knotweed).

As much as I know we will have to battle the knotweed over this coming year, to keep it from stampeding into our yard and growing up into our electric poultry fence, I also enjoy its beauty.  Love your enemies, right?  At this stage, it looks like burly asparagus.  Its fall flowers are white and delicate and the bees like them.  Brought to this country as an ornamental, it is extrememely hard to eradicate once it establishes itself, usually on disturbed soil.  A forest of knotweed can grow from a small 2" piece of root, accidentally transported.  I think of it as The Northern Kudzu.

This is what we saw growing on our misty morning walk down the hill and back up to home.

Not sure what this is.  
Pink Dogwood, Locusts, and Pitch Pine on a hillside of shale, fill, and knotweed.
Mucho Garlic Mustard.  
Garlic Mustard.  Edible and Invasive.
Wild Violets
Stinging Nettle
Dooker's Hollow
The understory growth before the Japanese Knotweed takes over.   The brown stalks in the foreground are the dead knotweed from last year.  The new stalks are just now emerging.
Stonecrop on a rocky outcropping

Our house (white, in the middle) from below the Knotweed Forest
(Wild?) Currant
Blocks from a garage foundation that slid down the hill.

Currant growing out of a rock.

Young Knotweed shoots.
Knotweed and Garlic Mustard.  An invasive bouquet. 

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