Friday, May 23, 2008

In the Grove: Lovely Catalpa/ Herbicidal Musings

Killing should be less depressing. It's funny that often the most wonderful days will elicit feeling of melancholy instead of elation. Today was a near perfect day. Warmer than it has been for weeks, but not hot. No rain just mostly blue sky with a few interesting clouds. Steady breezes, not the 30 mph winds of yesterday. Because those gales had abated, I was able to spray herbicide. Friday is a "Grove Day", one of the days that I work in the National Grove of State Trees.

Gardens teach us important things about time, and patience, and planning. Plants aren't furniture; sometimes we have to wait for them. If you want a mature Stewartia, you will likely have to plant a small tree and wait 20 years. If you want a mature shade tree, it can take your lifetime. Even a swath of groundcover can take 5 years. All these parallel growth processes going on in the same garden! Annuals are appealing for more reasons than just their flowers. To get it all aligned is complicated, but Nature is forgiving and even when its not quite perfect its still wonderful.

Deconstruction is not always a simple or rapid act either. We are working to recover areas here at the Arboretum that have gone out of cultivation. Like every garden, we don't have as much money or labor as we would like, and we try to steal hours here and there to work on these overgrown spaces. One of the targets I sprayed today was ~200' of Japanese Honeysuckle along Rhododendron Road. The Honeysuckle was flowering lushly and fragrantly. It was happy because I had, last year, removed a number of Callery Pears that had seeded in and were overgrowing the road. The new sun was just what the Honeysuckle wanted. With the Honeysuckle killed, I'll be able to come in and kill the Poison Ivy underneath, then the Amur Honeysuckles, then replant the space with native plants. Except I won't; my time in the Grove is limited. The job is a non-renewable 4-year term position that ends in November, so today's killing is bittersweet (I did actually spray some bittersweet too, but its harder to kill). I won't be back to finish the process.

No comments: