by Margot Wallston, SAHC AmeriCorps Stewardship Associate — July 2013
One of my favorite things about working in land conservation during the spring is being able to take note of the persistent emergence of botanical life after winter’s long repose. Hiking off-trail to monitor remote pieces of land affords the opportunity to witness the first signs of spring: new stems pushing up through the ground, swelling leaf buds, the first hints of color as flower petals begin to open. It’s fun to guess what identity each new plant will take on: Will a red, clenched hand atop a fuzzy stem become false goats beard? Will a blue-purple fan of soft baby leaves become blue cohosh?
I’m not alone in relishing in this annual event. Many people look forward to spring’s arrival as the best time to watch the forest reawaken after winter as wildflowers gradually begin to bloom. But spring also stirs to life a host of invasive, non-native plants which compete with our native wildflowers and trees for essential resources. One of the first invasive plants to pop up amidst our native spring ephemerals is garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). Read more