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.
When I attended Amma’s programs at MA Center Chicago last summer, I walked to their big echinacea field. I found the flowers fascinating. I loved how unusual they looked at each stage of development and was particularly intrigued by the spikes in the center of the flower.
Soon after returning to Seattle, I decided to purchase some echinacea plants for my own garden… and a microscope. When I looked at the flower under the microscope, I gasped; my eyes beheld the magnificence and wonder of nature. (Click on the galleries to enlarge the photos.)
Ivy is killing many of the trees in Seattle’s Greenbelt. On the four lots that our GreenFriends group has been working to restore, there is one tree that is so covered with ivy that you can’t see any other part of it.
One day in April, city workers came to cut down blackberry vines on the lots. They also dealt with the ivy on this tree.
That is done by cutting the ivy at shoulder height and at the bottom of the tree. This is called a survival ring. The ivy on the rest of the tree is left to die off since pulling it down would be near impossible and could be dangerous.
The ivy had formed a hard, dense cover around the tree. The workers were able to pull off a section of it. (Click on the galleries to see a bigger view of the photos.)
The “crust” was so dense and had many components.
I look forward to looking at this section of ivy under my microscope.
Last Thursday, as I was coming out of my doctor’s office, I could tell that someone was calling me on the phone, even though the ringer was off. I decided to stand near a window to take the call. When I looked out the window, I saw a seagull standing on the ledge in front of me. The bird appeared to be looking at the building across the street.
I was on the phone for a while. During that time, the seagull stood completely still. When I finished the call, I decided to photograph it. Within moments, the bird began to move. At times I felt like it was posing for me!
This was my favorite photo of them all.
I am aware that if I hadn’t taken the call, I would never have seen the seagull and would have missed out on this wonderful, unexpected, experience.
Every time I thought about “A Good Match,” my mind went back to a 2013 photo. I felt a sense of fascination when I first saw this tromboncino squash…. and I am still fascinated by it. To me it is the epitome of a good match.
Tromboncino squash are considered summer squash and are used in the same way as zucchini.
What I find most interesting about this form of squash, though, is that if you allow it to continue to grow, it will turn into a winter squash. In that process, it changes color and the skin becomes hard. The inside becomes sweet and reminds me of acorn squash. I really love eating it at that point.
I also love how big the squash grows. This one was five feet long!
(I took the photo above by taking a picture of myself in a mirror. My arms weren’t long enough to take it facing me. Besides, in 2013, I probably didn’t even know what a selfie was!)
I used to have repetitive dreams of being in a house that had a lot of secret rooms. When I walked down one hallway, I would inevitably discover a new hallway that led to rooms I hadn’t seen before. The house went on and on and provided me with a never ending adventure.
That is what it has been like for me to work in the Greenbelt. I enter one area after another that is covered by blackberry vines, ivy and bamboo. I never know what I will find on the other side of them.
One day my adventure started here.
As I cleared a path, I saw many downed trees.
Soon, I came across this tree. It looked as if a maple tree that had fallen had birthed a new tree.
I discovered that another part of the tree had traveled north and it too had become a maple tree.
Other parts of the tree had traveled to the west and to the south. There was a new tree at the end of the western portion. I haven’t reached the end of the southern part yet so I don’t know what I will find there.
It is mind-boggling to me that a tree which has been so beaten down by the environment has such a strong will to live, and due to that will has accomplished what seems impossible. I look forward to the day when all of the invasive plants have been removed and the trees can reach for the sky without being hindered.