Volunteers began to arrive for the January 28 work party at 8:30 AM, and there was much work to be done weeding, planting and planning for the butterfly garden.
Over the past year and a half, Beautification Committee members have been gathering walnuts from various places on the hill and approximately a year ago, the walnuts were planted in tall pots that could accommodate their tap roots. In December, many of those seedlings were put in the ground in various locations in Elyria Canyon Park, and we are pleased to announce that many of those seedlings have sprouted new leaves this season. We are trying to increase the survival chances for those seedlings by watering them whenever we have a chance, but more seedlings were waiting in pots to be put in the ground.
Volunteer Sean Gilleran took the initiative to find places to plant about a dozen and a half seedlings in various locations near the now dead giant walnut in the meadow as well as placing them strategically in the shade of elderberry and lemonade berry plants along the trail that leads up from the meadow to the south. If you are hiking along the trail, be sure to keep an eye out for orange tape markers on the foot tall sprouts that have already begun leafing out. Even better, adopt one of these seedlings and give it a drink of water whenever you are hiking in the canyon.
Jerry Schneider brought two volunteer native sycamore trees to add to the native plants growing in Elyria Canyon. Gophers can present a threat to young plants, so Jerry and Julian constructed gopher cages to protect the roots of these two trees which were planted in the meadow near the red barn as a start for the butterfly garden that is being planned in that area. Sycamore is a larval food plant for the Western Tiger Swallowtail, a showy black and yellow striped butterfly that is commonly seen sailing through the trees during the summer months.
Weeding around native plants is one of the other main jobs that the Beautification Committee does each month. Newly elected MWHA board member Carol Teutsch weeded around some of the native plants that have been growing naturally in the meadow outside the Red Barn in the area that the planned butterfly garden will occupy.
The shady trail that leads away from the meadow has a healthy population of Golden Currants and volunteer Steve Teutsch weeded around those plants. This particular area is also prone to invasion by non-native poison hemlock and Steve learned to recognize that plant so it can be pulled before it flowers in May and goes to seed shortly afterwards.