Sunday, May 17, 2009

My first time volunteering with the High Park VSP!

I've been wanting to get involved with the High Park Volunteer Stewardship Program for over a year but usually my son is with me on Sunday mornings when they do their thing. But this weekend he's at the cottage with his dad and stepmother, so I got to attend today and help pull garlic mustard, a plant I love to hate as readers of this blog will know. We were working on an area south of the Black Oak Café, which had about a zillion garlic mustard plants in bloom, and some starting to set seed. Frankly it looked rather futile to me, but with a large number of volunteers we cleared a huge area in only a couple of hours. I'm hoping the before and after pics the organizers took will be posted online soon; if you're in High Park, just follow the road downhill behind the Black Oak Café and note the huge difference between the right side where we were pulling and the left side which is still a sea of garlic mustard.

[Photo: toad.]For me the high point was discovering this very well camouflaged toad, which I thought was a clod of dirt until it started to hop. Anyone know what species this little treasure is? Our work also uncovered a chipmunk (too fast to photograph), starry false Solomon's seal (native), greater celandine (not native), and numerous maple seedlings.

[Photo: How to Know the Wild Flowers.]Afterwards, I headed for Rainbow Market Square to see Star Trek, arriving a couple of hours early to make sure I got in (it was sold out when I tried to see it yesterday). Ticket in hand, I went to a nearby antique store, Ephemera Too, where I discovered this wonderful book, How to Know the Wild Flowers, by Mrs. William Starr Dana, published in 1899! It's a treasure trove of short articles and full-page black-and-white illustrations of a variety of north-eastern North American wildflowers, mostly native. How could I resist? I decided it would be my birthday present to myself (only 6 weeks early).

(The movie was great too!)

1 comment:

  1. According to Wikipedia, How the Know the Wild Flowers was the first field guide to North American wildflowers. The first printing sold out in 5 days!

    You can read it online for free. I love the internet.


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