After pulling the bracken fern and piling it high, I noted over the next couple of weeks that the seven-ish-foot-high pile of fern fronds had slowly deflated to about four feet. I am sure some of the compression can be accounted for by the ferns’ being beaten down by the continued rain…I know I feel beaten down by it; but also, as the ferns begin to decompose they are losing moisture, and it seems to be a lot of it.
I periodically poke my hori-hori into the soil to tell just how wet, or moist, or dry
the soil is. The continuing rains we are ‘enjoying’ here in the Pacific Northwest Uniseason of 2010-2011 have ceased being the non-stop torrential downpour variety and have become more of an occasional shower or hours-long drizzle, and the muddy, clay-ey portions of the clearing have now given most of their moistness to the wetland. A few spots are downright dry…powdery, even. Since my ongoing project is essentially that of having the plants that I want (Native, of course) where I want them, then the corollary is that I must have the water that I need for those plants–and NOT water those I don’t need, or want. I can tell that I pulled the bracken fern not a moment too soon, as its deflated appearance tells me it is a water thief. I have some other water thieves, too.
When spring (as defined by the equinox and not by the weather, anyway) arrived, the pouring forth of green things from the earth was remarkable. As I previously remarked, it seemed advisable to allow any and all volunteer plants a complete debut as so many were indistinguishable from each other or from some of the early plants I added to the clearing. I didn’t want to inadvertently eradicate valuable (and attractive) native perennials. Now, with the bracken out of the way, I can see that the plant colonies I have created not only have some rouge colored plant crowns with an airy foliage and a sweet little flower (Common Stork’s Bill, I think) but are also very nearly covered with lush carpets of green vine-y things that are not very pretty and seem to be using the other plants as trellises and tuteurs. My plants have it tough enough, with poor soils, heavy tree cover, and ever-present deer. They don’t need to offer resources and support to needy neighbors. My field guide reveals that I have Crisp Sand Wort; I also have Cleavers… and I need to get rid of them.