On the bark of a giant that had fallen last summer, I place garlic mustard just pulled. I keep it off the soil so that it properly desiccates, a lesson learned a year ago. Now committed to the project of eradicating the weed, I think of it as gardening, a task with its own time, that I can accomplish while out photographing the woods, searching for mushrooms or ramps, or completing some other woodland project. Away from fallen logs or large stones, I make piles so the mustard remains obvious to me later, as I check on its desiccation or dispose of it. Officially known as Garlic Mustard, Alliaria petiolata, I've pulled enough acreage of it now to refer to it as "skunk mustard," because its garlic-onion odor reminds me more of that mammal's funk. Click here for a concise and useful journal article on all things problematic with garlic mustard in North America.
Pennsylvania Sedge, Carex pensylvanica, and some Virginia Waterleaf, Hydrophyllum virginianum. I found these native strawberries, Fragaria virginiana growing in patches, too. A straight line trail runs through this location, with plenty of soil disturbance from quadrupedal hooves and nosing through leaves and soil for food. Maybe I could intervene beyond pulling weeds by giving some complementary plant a foothold. We tend to avoid plants consumed by deer and in this way we consume them by exclusion.
Eastern Garter, Thamnophis sirtalis. Its reaction to my sudden presence was no reaction at all.
Creeping Charlie, Glechoma hederacea. I also spotted considerable patches of Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica growing among the garlic mustard, but also several feet farther into the wetland. There is a tree, likely an ash, rooted at the edge of the wetland but fallen into it that has continued to send up branches along its trunk. Under the tree's crown there is a muddy circle where only the plants, above, are growing. At first glance I thought "Marsh Marigold?" Maybe not. Thoughts?
I did make a soggy-footed attempt into the great wetland on the south side. I wanted to see the willows -the first pale greening of spring, up close, but I didn't make it far enough in to be truly rewarded. Underneath those grasses were channels and ponds of water still draining from a much larger supply of slopes than the little wetland to the north. I did see evidence of Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata, about twenty five feet from the wood's edge. The exploration of the wetlands, our sunny places, compels me to engineer a boardwalk (literally -cut logs, debarked and placed longitudinally, with boards run lengthwise between them). Future projects.
Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis. Maybe these can be planted in the clearing among the wild strawberries?
this one, from last fall, or a relative.