|If you look "upstream," you can see a large paved canal of sorts that pours all of the runoff into the little wetland I've adopted:
God knows what types of chemicals are running off with that water. Fortunately, the aquatic plants will clean up the pollution a bit, but I sure wouldn't want to eat any of those plants.
The other day, I visited for the third time to collect and remove trash. I always see an egret there, and it was there:
There were also ducks! I've definitely seen mallards before, but this time I also saw a different species - or two. I can't tell if I saw buffleheads or ruddy ducks, or both. I couldn't get very close to them, and I couldn't get a picture.
As I walked to the spot where I wanted to collect trash, I passed a plant I only know as "sourgrass." This is edible but toxic in high doses due to oxalic acid. It's invasive. It reproduces by growing little bulbs along its roots. Then each new bulb grows into a new plant.
Sourgrass - the plant with the yellow flowers
There are a few Eucalyptus trees - a plant I hate because they suck up so much water. Also invasive.
Lots of Brazilian pepper trees. F$%^#$ing invasive. Thanks Spanish colonists.
Looking down into the pond area, there is a huge build up of dead and rotting plant matter, covered with trash:
This visit, I found some wild radishes. Pretty but invasive.
As always, I saw tons of California sagebrush, Artemisia californica. As implied by the name, it's a native. This one smells GREAT. It's not terribly useful for much, but I love it.
There's one plant I cannot recognize... any ideas?
There's lots of California poppy growing. All above-ground parts of this plant are useful medicinally to ease anxiety or insomnia.
Up top near the fence, I found these beauties:
Anyone know what these are?
My best guess: Evening primrose.
I think I spotted some wild oats too. Totally a shame about the pollution, since these guys could be useful.
There are tons of cattails growing in the water. These are edible, but no way I'd eat the ones here. You need to be really darn sure that the water where cattails grow isn't polluted if you're gonna eat them.
This visit, I brought with me a bunch of willow cuttings from native willow species. Willows are a common inhabitant of riparian areas around here, so I thought I'd plant them. They are chock full of root growth hormone, and they easily take root and grow into a new tree when you stick a willow cutting in the soil. The catch is that willows are dioecious, meaning that each tree is either a male or a female. In order to make baby willows, you need both.
I took cuttings from several different trees in hopes of getting at least one of each sex. The tricky part is that the area where I gathered them might have two different species (Arroyo Willow and Sandbar Willow) and so two different-looking trees might be different sexes of the same species, or different species altogether. The way to tell the species apart is by the leaves, and they don't have any leaves right now. The way to tell the sexes apart is by the flowers - which they do have right now - but I swear, I can't tell them apart even though I'm trying!
At any rate, I needed to plant my willows right near the water where the soil is wet, so I tossed my 5-gallon pail down ahead of me and then tried to climb down the steep slope. I fell, but it accomplished my goal of getting me down there all the same.
Here's what it looked like down there:
There was so much dead and rotting plant matter that I could actually walk on it. And while that's not great for a lot of reasons, it was pretty handy to have a way to walk where I needed to collect all of the trash. I planted my willows and then filled up my entire 5 gallon pail with trash.
After filling the entire bucket to the brim with trash, I managed to climb back up the steep slope to the top. I really didn't cover much ground even though I got so much trash! You can see how far I went in this picture. I first descended down to the water at the end of the fence, and I came back up with a full bucket of trash at the point where I took the photo:
I think for now, I'm gonna continue to get the rest of the trash out of this area. Long term, I'd love to get rid of the invasives and plant more natives. Of course, the big guys like the Eucalyptus trees aren't going anywhere, but maybe I could get rid of that sourgrass. It's a start, anyway.