Mother Nature’s Creation

I’ve been so involved in the Greenbelt restoration work that I’ve given my front yard garden very little attention. I’m loving how Mother Nature filled in the gap and made it beautiful in her own way.

For the last few years I have planted five or six pansies in the garden. Occasionally one has come back after the winter. This year, though, pansies of all colors have sprung up throughout the garden. There are so many of them! It seems so strange since that has never happened before.

Many of the blooms are withering but the combination of  colors are still beautiful.

I had an early bloom on one of the squash plants……..

…. but so far there isn’t any squash. The plants seem healthy but I haven’t seen both male and female blooms on any variety and I haven’t seen any bees. I will hand fertilize when that becomes possible.

The Lazy Susan plant and the Echinacea plants have buds. I look forward to seeing their flowers.

There is a seemingly endless supply of lemon balm and peppermint.

Thank you Mother Nature for all that you do for me, and for the world. You are a paragon of compassion and an artist that has no equal.

 

 

Blossom

Create

Paragon

Interesting Facts about Ferns

One part of our Greenbelt restoration site has so many ferns. I decided to read some articles about ferns and was fascinated by what I learned.

  • Ferns have been on earth for 360 million years.
  • The type of ferns we see now have been here for 45-50 million years.
  • Dinosaurs ate ferns, conifers, cycads and mosses.
  • Ferns were on earth 200 million years before flowers.
  • Ferns are helpful in preventing or eliminating pollution because they remove heavy metals from the air and the soil.
  • Today’s ferns are not edible because of toxicity. [Note: Maybe that is because of the heavy metal mentioned above.]
  • Some ferns have a life span of 100 years.
  • The height of ferns ranges from 2 inches to 30 feet.
  • Compressed ferns turned into fossil fuel and became the basis for oil, gas and oil.
  • Ferns reproduce from spores. They don’t have seeds or flowers.
  • There are at least 12,000 types of ferns on earth today. There may be up to 20,000 different species.
  • In North America there are 441 varieties of native ferns.
  • Ferns are vascular, circulating water and nutrients through their veins.
  • In the past, there were people who believed if they ate ferns they would become invisible. Still others believed ferns protected them against goblins and witches.

When I took this photo today, I imagined dinosaurs walking through this forest. Doing that reminded me of the Jurassic Park movies!

You can learn more about ferns from the articles below:

About Ferns

Fern

Fern Facts (Casa Flora)

Fern Facts (Soft Schools)

Five Fun Fern Facts

________

Daily Prompt: Taper

Mystery, Adventure and Reward

Yesterday I took on  the challenge of removing bindweed (morning glory) and blackberry vines from a thimbleberry shrub.

The bindweed wraps itself around each stem, weighing it down and eventually killing it.

The thimbleberry leaves are beautiful. They have three to seven lobes and are soft and hairy.


I tried to unwind the bindweed from each thimbleberry stem carefully, but the leaves and stems are so fragile that I lost many of them  in the process of trying to free them.  The stems are now free from blackberry and bindweed vines but I’m going to have to get under the shrub and dig out the blackberry roots to keep it that way. We will probably have to deal with the bindweed every year.

It was fun to watch the stems straighten once they were relieved of the weight of the bindweed. The shrub still looks scraggly but it will fill in and return to the beauty it is meant to be.

The density of the bindweed made it hard to tell where the shrub began and ended. The area towards the back had a much thicker layer of bindweed.

As I started to cut it away, I realized that it wasn’t thumbleberry that was under it, it was a gigantic fern. With renewed energy, I started cutting away the bindweed. Before long, the fern was free!

I love doing this work. It is full of mystery and adventure and is so rewarding.

 

Volume

Order

 

Found in the Greenbelt: Dinosaur

On May 13th, we had a work party that included 20 University of Washington students needing volunteer hours for an Introduction to Environmental Science class. A few days later, I discovered that one of them had left me a surprise.  The student had placed this toy dinosaur near, but not in, a pile of Greenbelt trash. I’m not going to throw it away either.

At the time I found it, I washed it and waited for the pile of trash to be picked up. Today, I put it back where the student had left it. I hope it enjoys its new home. I’m imagining it experiencing a sense of freedom and triumph after having survived 30-40 years buried in the dirt.

Triumph

Shocking Revelation

I am still reeling from some information I received today. It just occurred to me to look and see if today’s Daily Prompt would fit for this situation.  Revelation is perfect!

For the last month, I’ve been looking forward to taking a Plant Identification course that was offered to Forest Stewards and other volunteers who work in Seattle’s reforestation projects. When I arrived at the class today, I discovered most of the students had been Forest Stewards for a long time and the others had at least some experience in plant identification. I, on the other hand, only know a few of these native plants.

Last month, Ananya and I had to choose the trees, shrubs and ground covers that we will be planting in our group’s Greenbelt site the end of October. We ordered nearly 400 plants. In the course of today’s class, I learned that those plants will be delivered to us unmarked. Not only that, most will be in their winter state so we may have only a twig to use for identification.

WWWWWWHHHHHHAAAAAAATTTTTTTT?

The need for me to learn to identify our plants has certainly taken on a new intensity. As I sat down to write this post, though, a couple of other thoughts came to my mind. When we ordered the plants, we had to order in quantities of 10. We ordered 10 for some varieties and 20 for others. So even though we will have to identify 400 plants, there will only be 26 different types. That seems doable.  Also, sometime prior to October we will have the opportunity to take a Winter Twig class. I will make taking that class a priority.

I am sure glad that I learned this information today, rather than discovering it when the plants are delivered. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. Yes I can. Yes I can. Yes I can. Yes I can. And I don’t have to do it alone! Ananya and I will do it together and if we need help we will get it.

Were They Once Beloved Toys?

Yesterday, when I found these toys in the rubble of the house foundation that was recently unearthed in the Greenbelt, I got teary. Who were the children who had lost these toys? Had they cried when they realized they were missing? Were they once beloved toys?

Then I became puzzled. When I moved into this neighborhood in 1973, I had been told that there once had been a house in the lot behind mine; one that had burned in the 50’s. Even though this foundation is not directly behind my house, I have assumed it is the house that I was once told about. These toys had not burned, so had the house not burned either? If not, what had destroyed it?

The foundation has probably been covered by blackberry vines since sometime in the 60’s. Did the toys show up on the lot after that time? Had they been thrown over the embankment by inhabitants of the home above it? No one on this neighborhood even knew the house existed, so I will probably never know the answers to these questions.

I brought the stuffed animals and doll into my house and cleaned them to the best of my ability. The transformation was remarkable!

Tomorrow, we will be holding another work party in the Greenbelt. Twenty students from an Environmental Science class at the University of Washington have signed up to participate. I wonder what we will find as we continue our endeavor to return this piece of land to the beautiful forest it once was.

 

Contrast

Daily Prompt: Perfume

I have been working so much in the Greenbelt that I have neglected my own yard. Last week, I temporarily changed my priorities.

Yesterday afternoon, I spread cedar chips in the walkways. Their smell is like perfume to me.

Red currant shrub-to-be and cedar chips
Elderberry shrub-to-be and cedar chips

Note 1: The flower petals are falling from the magnolia tree above.
Note 2: There is no part of this area that is finished but I hope the photos gave you a glimpse of what it is becoming. 

Daily Prompt: Perfume

Roots, Roots and More Roots

I laughed when I read that the April 26 Daily Post prompt was Roots. My life is filled with roots. I even dream about roots.

Our local GreenFriends group has taken on the responsibility of restoring four lots in Seattle’s Greenbelt. That land has been overrun by blackberries and ivy for decades. Part of our job in phase one of the project is to remove the blackberry vines and their root-balls.

The City of Seattle Parks Department staff cut down most of the blackberry vines in March. There are now thousands of canes sticking up from the ground. They lead us to the root-balls.

Raking up the debris makes it easier for us to see the canes and to dig out the root-balls.

Once we dig them out we put them on racks so they can dry out.

I suspect that blackberry root-balls will be in my life for years-to-come.

To read more about this project go to Greenbelt Restoration Project Update