Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Outside our gate we have a triangle piece of ground.  It is technically the county's ground.  The most they ever do with it is mow by the road.  The rest grows up in Virginia creeper and poison ivy and various other weeds.  This year with gardening on my back burner I hadn't tackled the triangle (last year I planted perennials.)  the weeds are trying to take them over.  The rain this year has made it difficult for me.  It has been too wet to walk in the garden. 

Yesterday it was finally dry enough to mow. I mowed about 4 acres, spotting a nice large black snake.  Thank goodness there were no copperheads, last week's foray with one was enough. There was also several little snakes running away from the mower.  They looked like ring necks but I wasn't going to get down and examine them closer.  In the grass at the edge of the woods, I lost count of how many box turtles there were.

This morning I decided I should jump-start my gardening with straightening out the triangle by the gate.  I drove my little red rooster, loaded with my tools and the most important item, my purple disposable plastic gloves, down to the gate.  Poison ivy is rampant there.  I knew the first order of business was to pull every vine I saw.  Look closely and you can see this specimen is already blooming. All parts of the poison ivy plant cause contact dermatitis in some people.  I am one of those people. When I came in I washed all exposed skin with our favorite preventative, Safeguard soap.  I don't know if it is a proven method, but I do know it works for us.
On the way to the gate my nose was assailed with fragrances which were heavenly.  The knee deep clover was in full bloom and so was the vining honeysuckle. I arrived at the gate and my nose was assaulted.  The odor of rotting flesh was everywhere.  I looked for what may have died (it is a dangerous corner and I thought perhaps there was an animal killed).  Nothing, but when I started pulling the weeds I spied this phallic looking mushroom which was a psychedelic orange.  It definitely was emitting the smell accosting my nose and the entire area of the triangle.  It is not that big (notice the flies on it).  Being it was so powerful I looked for more of them and it was the only one.
You would think with the stiff wind blowing it would dissipate quickly.  It has its own production facility! 
It was quite a job pulling all the vines.  They enjoyed all the rain this spring and were rampant, even climbing up into the lilac bushes I planted last year.  Last year we left a couple of native shrubs.  We didn't know what they were.  One of them looks like a privet hedge.  This year it bloomed.  It is very fragrant and the blooms are minuscule.  This is a branch of the shrub with a few left over blossoms (it's bloom time is almost over).  All three of these blooms take up less space than the face of a penny. 
The other shrub, we thought was a dog wood which had gotten mowed off and had come up with several trunks.  This is the leaves of the shrub.
And a surprise bloom this morning.  The wind was blowing hard and the stench of the stink horn was making it difficult to discern if there was a fragrance to the blooms.
I haven't finished weeding the area.  Will keep you posted on my progress.

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