Old friends and new friends came to the February 18, 2012 work session. One of the new friends came with his own weedwrench which allowed us to uproot major French broom patches near the springs at the head of Harwood Creek [top photo], while others pulled seedling broom from an area which we had cleared two years ago. We were reminded that maintenance of a cleared area is so much easier than the initial clearing. It is completely within our grasp to eradicate French broom from Garber Park by the end of this year.
Without meaning to, while working with the weedwrench, Clyde disturbed a juvenile ringneck snake notable for its black and orange markings and notable also just for being present near the upper banks of the creek. Follow this link to see a page of ringnecks, ours is amabilis: http://www.californiaherps.com/identification/snakesid/ringnecks.id.html We don't see them often in Garber.
Discovering things turned out to be the theme of the work session. Apparently as a consequence of the very wet winter season last year, our forest constituents--particularly coast live oak and California buckeye--produced legions of seedlings. Because we started working in Garber in draught conditions, we have not seen a spring when rejuvenation of the forests was evident. But this year seedling trees are everywhere. In the same vein, the quantity and vigor of native regeneration in areas that we have cleared is surprising. The gooseberries and currants are far more numerous than we have ever noticed [Ribes californicum, last two photos].
Finally, we rediscovered an idea that sometimes gets lost--namely that control and eradication of invasive species is in itself an act of restoration. That is the big picture in Garber Park this spring. Where we have cleared and either subsequent planting has taken place or simple ground cover has prevented a new crop of weeds, a healthy and energetic native landscape is emerging. This is everywhere evident in the Park.
Thanks to our volunteers. This cannot be done without you!!