Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Once upon a time

Tall Bellflower
What a delight to see this success.  A nice patch of about a dozen Tall Bellflower now graces an area of the side yard that a few short years ago was doomed to invasion.  This beautiful native plant has popped up all on its own.  Just a few years ago this area was a prolific breeding ground for that nasty invasive, Garlic Mustard.  If you watched the Garlic Mustard video posted earlier, you'll remember that this non-native takes over wooded areas and poisons the soil.  Several years ago, my wife and I became aware of the growing effort to take back our public woodlands from this unwanted invader.  When we found our own property was threatened, we set out on a mission to remove all the Garlic Mustard we could.  Since then, every year, we search out and pull all the flowering Garlic Mustard out by its roots.  And now, I make it a point to pull out even the first year plants that pop up everywhere. 

Garlic Mustard is a biennial that sprouts the first year and flowers and then dies the second.  That first year plant is small and building its strength to sow thousands of seeds the next year.  Those seeds can remain viable for many years.  So it's really important to get rid of it before it goes to seed.  Unbeknownst to me until this year, the plant is so tenacious, the seed will continue to ripen even after the plant is pulled.  Bad news.  This means all the Garlic Mustard I dumped into our compost bins in ealier years has probably contributed  to the abundance of small mustard plants popping up around the property.   The proper way to dispose of the pulled plant is to burn it. 

Tall Bellflower flower
Nonetheless, the effort of removing the Garlic Mustard was worth it.  This reclaimed part of our yard is now home to a beautiful flowering native plant.  The patch is alive with small bees and other insects buzzing around it.  This lifts my soul and encourages me to continue converting our landscape to natives.   Even this small section of native plants is contributing to the biodiversity, the natural beauty that adds to the richness of life.  This Tall Bellfower will continue to seed itself, hopefully making itself at home in other parts of the yard.    

1 comment:

TanyaM said...

I used to think, if there's pretty flower that blooms and it appears without me planting it, then I won't pull it, but that's not the case. I'm sure there are many invasives in my yard, that I need to be vigilant about removing.