Monday, December 18, 2006

Forested Wetlands

I stopped for a couple minutes tonight on the way home from work. There's something about this land that I already like. Perhaps it's the openess, perhaps it's the running river, but something already has an ability to mellow me from complex days.

I got out of the truck and walked to the edge of the bank overlooking the river. I had been listening to A Winter's Solstice during my journey home. For some reason "When Earth's Last Picture Is Painted" kept playing in my mind and overshadowed even the sound of the Winooski River. It was very nice.

I didn't have much time but I have a little routine during each visit and I walk the same route either coming or going. It includes a stop at the survey marker that divides "us" and the Fish and Wildlife land.

From the yellow birch, I looked down the bank and thought what a good teaching example this probably is of forested wetlands. The trees include a couple white birches, a couple yellow birches, many box elders and silver maples, cottonwoods, elms I'm not sure of, green ash and fir balsam. There are a few more but regardless, they all represent life in a wet habitat.

My eye caught the rusty brown color of the fallen Japanese knotweed: Polygonum cuspidatum. This plant is on invasive lists but is towards the top of my "Do Not Like At All" List, just under poison ivy. I remember 40 years ago it impressed me as Vermont's bamboo. That was about a year before I noticed that it was everywhere. Today this plant is a serious threat to more plants than we probably know. It lines river banks and borders road ditches and parking lots. I have yet to learn how it spreads but save it to say it's in too many places already. Now it lies dormant and unnoticed. When spring arrives and the Winooski River rises and falls, knotweed will no doubt travel with it. This years pockets will become even bigger masses by mid summer 2007. Something to keep purple loostrife company.

A pileated woodpecker talked from across the river as it flew to a new maple for an early dinner. I took the sound as a reminder that I must be going.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where quarter sized snowflakes in small numbers drift to earth , and where Karl sleeps in front of the wood stove, dreaming dog dreams and mumbling dog words I just do not know.

Gardening wishes,

George Africa

1 comment:

Ki said...

Looks almost like solomons seal or toad lily. There are stands of knotweed in the Princeton NJ area but they don't seem to spread very much if any at all. I thought they were quite attractive growing in the waste areas but I guess I'm wrong again. Same with purple loosestrife. I believe some nursery was actually selling the stuff about 10 years ago! Thanks for the info.