It's magical, that hidden world. Despite the broken glass, the dumped trash, the area we explored today, low in bio-diversity, still yielded surprising finds. We wore long pants and treaded shoes. We probably should have had long sleeves as well, especially when the mosquitoes by the polluted pond started biting. We withdrew from the mayflies and skunk cabbage, avoided the sharp-thorned, invasive barberries and copious poison ivy, but were drawn in by lilies of the valley and other ephemerals, mysterious holes and seed pods hanging by caterpillar threads as if by magic.
Looking under logs, we found an enormous nightcrawler, several slugs - eggs accompanying one, pill bugs, tiny snails, beetles, centipedes, and amazingly, two tiny salamanders in very distant places. They were much smaller than the one in our own yard, hundreds of feet away, and I wondered if it was because they were young or that our yard better supported such creatures.
Last week, my daughter and I found the salamander, an over two foot garter snake, more worms, slugs, and snails, and a chipmunk all within an hour and in our own yard. There are far fewer plant types in the supposed woods we explored, mostly swamp maple, oaks, a few types of pine, one type of fern, and lots of moss. There's very little scrub or shrub. There is trash everywhere.
Still, animals appear there, even if only to pass through. I've seen swans and herons, deer and rabbit, fox and coyote, pass through or over my yard, a mere quarter acre on a busy street with two acres of trash-strewn woods, ball park, and vandalized cemetery behind me. My own property continues to add layers, with more native plants added each year. I've seen more bird species at the feeder, more hawks, including red-tailed and Cooper's hawk. Last year, a goldfinch ate from my sunflowers and a hummingbird hovered before my face as I sat on my front steps just enjoying the garden.
Tomorrow, we visit the Garden in the Woods in Framingham, where inclusion and protection of native species is almost an art form. It is biodiversity to dream about.
|Looking under logs.|
|It's a log!|
|Worms and a termite.|
|Webbing and a dandelion seed?|
|Mysterious moss...or is it lichen?|
|Some kinda slime...|
|Frass and lichen.|
|Who's in here?|
|Can you see the salamander?|
|One of many...|
|What's down here?|
|Invasive barberry. Watch the thorns!|
|Roots grasp like fingers in the soil.|
|We wonder about holes and burrows...|
|...but we do not stick our hand in!|
|Mushrooms feast on dead wood.|
|Time to fly home...|