September GROVE

When I returned to the GROVE on the 7th of September, the oak trees looked tough but the GROVE itself looks great. I spent the entire day weeding the pink weed in the company of warblers, cardinals, catbirds and wood thrushes. The box elder had new growth, the winter berry had berried, and deer had only nibbled one of the red-osier dogwoods. The oaks looked dead and or dying but were still alive as of the 7th. Even if they do not come back to life next spring I am heartened at how successful we have been in reclaiming the space from knotweed. The knotweed that was there was small and spindly. Remember that only one year ago the space was completely given over to a mature knotweed forest! There are no easy ways to reclaim forest and GROVE taught us that the way is paved with native and non-native pitfalls, such as how much jewelweed to leave at the feet of the oaks, and whether the pink weed was native or not-native. (In the end it had to be pulled so it didn't overgrow the whole site.)

What eventually succeeds in GROVE may not be the original vision of oaks but it will be NATIVE for sure. However, when I returned to plant on the scheduled workday on the 27th, one of the oaks had re-leafed! Dave Bower, a volunteer coordinator for Fairmount Park pointed out buds on the other trees. Four of us, (two volunteers and two Fairmount Park staff) added more at least 30 more shrubs and plants including joe-pye weed and marsh marigold. We got a lot done but could use more help on these work days...Stay tuned for more planting updates including how you can join in.