Invaders—bad and good

Invaders—bad and good

September 29, 2016.

Much of this week—between welcome rains— was devoted to preparing the administration Quonset building for the 40 or 50 visitors expected next week, and removing exotic invaders that have moved into disturbed areas and spread. From Center for Urban Habitats, we were fortunate to have the skilled team of Rachel, Jessie, Luke, Soizic, and Zayd removing thousands of murdannia (marsh dewflower, an Asian relative of spiderwort), microstegium (Japanese stilt grass), arthraxon (carpet grass, which resembles wavy leaved basket grass and is almost as bad) and lespedeza cuneata (Chinese bush clover). They did this while avoiding damage to natives: six species of desmodium (tick trefoil), and several varieties of dicanthelium (rosette grass), among others.

The featured photo is of Luke, getting a giant miscanthus (Asian maiden grass) out of the bank near one of the bridges. Thanks to long labors Armand  initiated years ago, we are getting ahead of the miscanthus and elaeagnus umbellate  (autumn olive) around the main trail loop. Here are the experts at work with the other stuff.

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In happier news, we are finding in the galleries, particularly around the parking lot, volunteer natives, including colonies of asimina triloba (pawpaw trees), hedeoma pulegioides (American pennyroyal—a charming shrubby perennial with scented leaves), and eragrostis capillaris (lace grass, or tiny love grass, with delicate clouds of bloom). Here’s a sample of the pennyroyal and the love grass.

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Work on the Quonset building involves less latin. Many improvements are newly installed or under way, including a great well (producing 15 gallons per minute from 245 feet down), installation of projector, screen, and speakers in the classroom, HVAC ducting, and creation of an enclosed bathroom complete with macerating toilet, instant hot water, and sink. (Because we are in a hurry to get this in place for the big meeting next week, we took some short cuts. For example, the doors we ordered would not be ready in time, so we found an old one of the right size for the bathroom for temporary use. As you can see, there is a small problem with it, but I imagine we’ll be able to cure that by the time the crowd arrives.)

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We also had the pad poured for the outside porch, and are working on the entrance. Obviously, many things will still be a little on the rough side for the big meeting, but we’re pleased with the progress.

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Stilt Grass Patrol

September 8, 2016.

Thanks to Master Naturalists and Schuyler residents Deborah Kushner, Christine Lechner, and Bobi Thornhill, we made good progress Friday morning removing patches of stilt grass from among ferns, maple leaf viburnums, wintergreens, and other lovely things along the south quarry trail.

But there’s plenty more stilt grass—as well as lespedeza, miscanthus, and autumn olive. Many of these crept onto the site following the disturbance of building trails last year. We hope to head them off before they seed and become permanent residents.

Rachel Bush, garden guru from the Center for Urban Habitats, will be working at the Quarry Gardens Friday the 16th and Monday and Tuesday the 19th and 20th, the latter two days with a team from CUH helping. On those days, Rachel will be here between 9:30 and 4:30, making weeding not only an act of conservation but also an opportunity to learn about native plants. If you would like to join us for a few hours, please let Bernice know by email or contact form. We’d love to have your join us.

On a different note, the well for the administration building is in process of being drilled today, and the concrete footers for the main entrance are ready for their pour, expected early next week.