nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘invasive species

abandoned gardens: wildflowers take over

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Finding abandoned house-sites where the house has been burned, rotted or torn down is not difficult. Sometime bits of the house are still visible. Sometimes the house-site is the only un-mowed part of a hayfield. Sometimes there are shrubs or flowers, remnants of the plants that once grew there.

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After a few years of abandonment, wildflowers and other plants that colonize disturbed or waste areas gradually take over. In our travels we have seen bedstraw (Galium spp.), spreading dogbane (Apocynum andossemifelium) and other invasives.

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7 old homestead Debec area

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On our drive to the area west of Woodstock, we saw lots of rough bedstraw, with its leaves in sixes (Galium asprellum), sprawling over abandoned areas. It forms a tangle across low pastures and ditches. The tangle looks springy and comfortable, the perfect mattress stuffing, but feels rough and sticky when rubbed backwards from stem to flowers, due to the plant’s rasping, hooked prickles.

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On Wednesday, we took a drive to the area north of Stanley to Centreville, a community settled in 1890 and then abandoned.  We revisited a property we saw in 2018, to try and identify a plant I had seen there. Spreading dogbane (Apocynum androssemifolium) has taken over the front of the property and is gradually spreading into the field.

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Not a very pretty name for a fragrant, nodding flower, pink and bell-like, with tiny red veins inside each flower.

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Although my project is about garden escapes, I think I need to mention the wild species that move the other way, from wild areas to areas that have been abandoned! It’s all about competition and so often, the wild species, adapted to living in our soils and climate. are the successful ones!

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This work is supported by a Creation Grant from artsnb (the New Brunswick Arts Board)!

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All my best.

Stay safe.

Wash your hands.

Jane 

Written by jane tims

July 10, 2020 at 7:00 am

uphill and down

with 8 comments

While doing a search for a particular plant we know grows in the area, my husband and I took a side road through rural Victoria County in New Brunswick. We drove from Route 109 (near the top of the map), south through Upper Kintore and Lower Kintore, to Muniac, a distance of about 23 kilometres.

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(Map Source: New Brunswick Atlas, First Edition)

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Kintore was settled in 1873 and named for the town of Kintore near Aberdeen, Scotland. In 1898, Kintore was a railway station and had a post office and a population of 75. (Source: New Brunswick Archives)

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church and school house in Upper Kintore 2016

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Interesting to me was the very well-cared-for one room Upper Kintore School, built in 1877.

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Upper Kintore School built 1877

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Our drive took us uphill through Upper Kintore, along Big Flat Brook (a tributary of the Tobique River). The road peaked at Lawson Hill and then ran down, through Lower Kintore. Again, the road followed a watercourse, the Muniac Steam (a tributary of the Saint John River). As we drove we talked about the road — the earliest roads took the easy way, along the brooks. The southern part of the road was banked by steep rocky roadcuts.

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the Muniac Stream near Lower Kintore

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Since I am interested in the plants children might encounter on their way to school, I was happy that this is the time in New Brunswick when most of our roadside wild flowers are in bloom. We saw Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia serotina Nutt.), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense L.), Bedstraw (Galium sp.), Daisy (Chrysanthemum Leucanthemum L.), Bladder-Campion (Silene Cucubalus Wibel) and Meadow Rue (Thalictrum polygamum Muhl.). Quite a bouquet! I have to remain aware that some of these plants have become very weedy and invasive since the early 1900s and may have been hard to find in the 1800s. For example, in the photo below, just above the Black-eyed Susan, you will notice a plant of Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa L.). In New Brunswick, Wild Parsnip is a invasive species, probably introduced by Europeans in the 18th century as a food source.

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Black-eyed Susan along the road

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Do you have any favorite rural drives through communities with interesting histories?

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

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