Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Site of plant rescue
Oh My Gosh!  My head is spinning.   I got to go on a Plant Rescue.  Yes, that's right, a Plant Rescue.  The bulldozer was going to be there any time now to doze down this shady, wooded lot in a new residential neighborhood.  With the land owner's permission, for about a year, Jan Hunter has been harvesting various native plants from this site in advance of the eventual clearing for a new home.  Tonight, she took me through the overgrown piece of land, pointing out numerous plants that I'd either bought, had only heard about, or had never heard of.  Wow!  In addition to digging up plants for herself, she helped me dig dozens of Wild Ginger, and Jack in the Pulpit.  We also dug up Virginia Wild Rye, Doll's Eyes, Bottlebrush Grass, Wahoo (a native Euonymus), and some unidentified sedges,    And just a couple of months ago, I thought there weren't any good native plants for the shady wooded areas of our yard.  WRONG.  This was a real cornucopia of good woodland native plants.  And FREE.  After about an hour of loading up our bags with these treasures, another member of our local Wild Ones organization arrived and added to her own collection of plants.  (Wild Ones is a non profit organization dedicated to the use of native plants.)  In another couple of weeks, all these plants will be destroyed.  This happens over and over again.  Fortunately this particular builder is sensitive to native plants and the green movement.  But I can just imagine that fire breathing, diesel drinking, smoke belching, bulldozer lowering its blade and scraping away these plants.  Perhaps I'll be able to get a picture of that event.  In the meantime, I'll certainly be busy planting all these rescued native plants. 

While traipsing through the thick undergrowth, Jan kindly continued my education.  It was like taking a drink from a fire hose.  Why do so many plants have Canada or Virginia in their Latin names?  Generally these were the places these plants were discovered and documented.  We also talked about mosquito spraying.  I didn't know  that within several days after a community sprays for mosquitoes, the mosquitoes are back in equal or greater number?  Unfortunately, the spray has not only killed a lot of pollinators, the chemical has gotten into our own bodies.  That can't be good. 

There was one casualty of this field trip.  In the excitement of digging up the first clump of ever abundant Wild Ginger, I laid down my trusty hand trowel.  We spent a good 15-20 minutes trying to find my beloved little shovel.  To no avail.  It'll certainly be no match for that bad, big-bladed bulldozer.  So if one day you are digging in the garden of your newly built house and find a nice, one piece, cast-aluminum, red rubber handled garden trowel, send me note and let me know how much you like it.


TanyaM said...

I like that you link the plants with a picture. It's a great way for me to learn. I'm surprised that we have some common native plants; Columbine (Colorado State flower) and coneflowers. Probably more but my plant knowledge is fairly limited.

the Native Plant Neophyte said...

TanyaM, thanks. My knowlege is also limited but learning about this is ineteresting. Your Columbine plant is related to but different than ours in Northwest Ohio. I believe yours is the Colorado Blue Columbine. ( Is that right? while ours is the Canada Columbine with red and orange flowers ( When I first got interested in native plants, I proudly told a local naturalist that we had Columbines naturally growing on our property. She asked me whether they were the native one or the invasive one. WHAT? I didn't know there was an invasive one. I ran home to check it out and wasn't sure. Thankfully it turned out to be the native one. Imagine how embarassed I'd be if I'd been encouraging an invasive plant to grow.