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February 12th, 2013

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02:22 pm - Phenology Walk I

“Phenology” is the study of annual events in nature, such as plants budding or birds nesting. It also makes for a great excuse to walk through North Beach Park once a week or so. I’m not getting there as often these days, since my studies about how to restore the park are taking me away from the actual restoration, paradoxical as that might seem.

Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanum)
Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanum)

I did see some skunk cabbage. I remember in previous years there would be areas positively lush with it. I think it’s a very easily disturbed plant, though, and it seems to disappear from areas where we’ve done any work. It grow in places too wet to work in until after it’s died back, but that still seems to be enough of a disturbance. It’s one of my favorite plants, and seeing it in North Beach Park and finding out about it is one of the things that drew me to the park.

Pacific Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes)
Pacific Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes)

There was also Pacific Waterleaf coming up all over the place. Pacific Waterleaf grows from early spring until July or August and then dies back. While it’s around, it can form a very dense carpet. And when it blooms, it can hum with busy bees. This plant, too, appears to be disturbed by restoration work. It grows among ivy, and once it dies back the ivy gets to keep going. Pulling up the ivy and mulching can really cut back on the waterleaf return.

But it wasn’t all mixed news.

Nootka Rose (Rosa nootkensis)
Nootka Rose (Rosa nootkensis)

This Nootka rose was planted in March 2012, which is late in the planting season. Despite the long, cool spring, the plants we put in that late didn’t have much time to establish their roots before the long drought of August-September hit. But this plant seems to have survived, and is putting out buds nicely. Nootka rose was brought into the park by restoration.

Indian Plum or Osoberry (Oemlaria cerasiformis)
Indian Plum or Osoberry (Oemlaria cerasiformis)

This Osoberry looks in good shape, too. This is another very early plant, that blooms before almost anything else.

I didn’t do as good a job of recording what was planted where in 2012 as I might have. So one of my goals for 2013 is to better document the planting season (October — January).

In the meantime, there are plenty of invasives to remove.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.


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