This may be my favorite photo. If it isn’t, it is close.
I love watching plants change from winter twigs to beautiful shrubs. One day last week this red huckleberry branch caught my eye.
Within a day’s time the branch had changed significantly.
And four days later this is what it looked like:
This is a photo of the red huckleberry shrub taken on March 30.
And on April 5 it looked like this:
The exquisite intricacy of Nature is amazing.
[Note: I’ve been getting frustrated because I haven’t been able to get clear close up photos. I discovered it was because the iPhone camera was focusing on the background. When I hold my hand behind the item I want to photograph the item becomes clear immediately. So expect to see my hand a lot!]
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We have so many Oregon Grape shrubs on the restoration site. Some of them north of the Hanford stairs were planted by Earth Corps 10-15 years ago. Some of the ones south of the stairs were planted by a neighborhood group 6-10 years ago. All of shrubs had been crushed by blackberry vines but thrived once they were freed from those invasive plants. We have also planted new Oregon Grape shrubs throughout the site.
In the days after our January 21 forest restoration work party, some peculiar events occurred. I wrote about them in Mystery in the Greenbelt.
I don’t know where the mystery shovel or the mystery plant came from. The only clue was the blue and white checkered flagging tape that was hanging from one of the branches of the plant. We had put that tape on all of the trees, shrubs and ground covers we planted during the 2017-18 planting season. But I still haven’t found a hole or a missing plant.
At the time, I decided that since there was no rationale explanation for the mystery, I would accept a non-rational one. I concluded that the plant was sitting on the side of The Rack Zone because it was “supposed” to be the first plant we planted in that area.
[The Rack Zone is located in the foundation of a house that we believe burned down in the 50’s. We have put all the blackberry, ivy and bindweed vines plus all of the weed we have removed since early in 2017 on drying racks in that area. During the January 21 work party, we took apart all but three of the drying racks and spread the contents over the concrete foundation. Our plan has been to eventually use that space as a planting area. The first photo below shows The Rack Zone after we had spread most of the dried debris on January 21. We have continued to add dried debris to that area since then. The second photo shows one of those work parties.]
So I planted the mystery shrub in The Rack Zone. I didn’t know what kind of plant it was and I didn’t know if it was alive.
When most of the plants on the site began to bud this year and that one didn’t, I thought it was probably dead. Then on March 18th some tiny buds appeared!
When I looked at the shrub again on March 21, there were leaves.
It was beginning to look like the shrub was an Oceanspray plant. In the days that followed, leaves emerged from all over the plant.
We now have a plant in The Rack Zone and it IS Oceanspray. I am eager to discover how it reacts to being in that environment. I hope one day it looks like this Oceanspray shrub I saw last summer.
I spend so much time working in the Greenbelt that I often don’t notice what is going on in my own yard.
Two days ago, I realized my camellia shrub had started blooming, and the flowers were beautiful.
When I knelt down to take a photo of a bloom towards the bottom of the bush…
… I saw that there was something partially buried in the ground. I pulled it out.
Where did the shoe come from and when? It certainly didn’t come from my house. I looked around and noticed that the bottom part of my neighbor’s rotten garage was in front of me.
An animal must have pulled the shoe from there at some point. Finding something so unusual in my yard felt like an added bonus. I now had a mini adventure to report on, in addition to sharing the beautiful flowers.
When we received the new plants for our forest restoration project towards the end of October, the Pearly Everlasting shrubs looked like this:
And here they are in their new home:
In the last post I wrote about them, they were beginning to emerge from the ground. I was surprised as I had no idea this was how they would grow.
And now they look like this!
I look forward to seeing how they evolve from this stage to the way they looked when I first saw the shrub during a November 2017 workshop.
Some of the native shrubs we were given to plant in the Greenbelt this past November were already dormant. Some were simply twigs that look dead. Some of the twigs were even broken. I didn’t have much hope for those, but when I walked through the restoration site yesterday I discovered that life was emerging even from the twigs that looked least likely to survive!
Life is good. Life is amazing.
Amma teaches us to be like a bird perched on a dry twig, ready to fly at a moment’s notice. We certainly had an opportunity to practice that teaching during our March 17 work party.
At the beginning of the work party, there were five team leaders present and ready for action. The plan for the day took an unexpected turn when no one from the group who was going to do the March planting showed up.
The native shrubs and ground covers we were planting that day were bare root plants or plugs, so we didn’t have the luxury of planting them over time; they had to be planted that day. When it became clear that the group wasn’t going to come, the team leaders “rolled up their sleeves” and started planting the 65 plants themselves.
I called John (neighbor) and asked if he would carry the wood chips we use for mulch to the various planting areas. Thankfully, he was available and came right away. With his help, we were able to finish the project by 2:00 pm!
I was too busy planting and carrying wood chips to take any photos during this work party, but took pictures of some of the plants and planting areas later.
(You can enlarge the photos by clicking on any picture in the gallery below.)
If we were being “tested” on flexibility, persistence, letting go, accepting what is, doing whatever it takes, equanimity and/or being like a bird perched on a dry twig, I’d say we passed the test!