Monday, June 06, 2011

Attack of the Wild Chervil

Monday, June 6, 2011

A beautiful morning here above Peacham Pond. Windless for a change as the sun pushes through the fog and steam rolls gently off the machine shed roof as last night's dew becomes this morning's humidity.

Gail is banging around, muttering here and there, loading the truck and trying to get out the door for the nursery. She is a trooper for putting up with me and clearly my broken leg was not what either of us thought would be a good way to start the summer. Last night when she had barely returned from a long day, I begged if she would take me for a brief ride so I could get away from here for a bit. Gail is Gail and off we went down George Jewett Road to Route 2. The Jewett Road is a mess and you need real care to keep away from the wash outs as the road width lessens. Out towards Hookerville, the impact of Mollys Falls Brook rising over ten feet is still obvious as you can spot tree limbs hanging out of trees along the brook and piles of grass and rushes stuck in the top of the brook alders. The temporary bridge at the start of Ennis Road was added after folks were stranded in there for 4 days. It looks odd as we are accustomed to the old wooden bridge that this time of year always has kid's bikes leaned against the rails, waiting for them to return by school bus at the end of the day. Only in Vermont!

We headed up Route 2 to the Cabot-Danville Road and Gail turned around as enough was enough for me. As we approached the flat before Goodrich's Sugar House, I could see a black form in the distance come out of the swamp on the right. I asked Gail to slow and the "black form" turned out to be a black bear intent on crossing the road but not willing to deal with our car or the sound of more vehicles from the west. The bear looked straight at me and plopped back into the swamp. We tried but couldn't locate it in the grass so don't know if it was a sow with a cub or two or a bear that was old enough this spring to get the word from Mom to leave her company and go it alone. Regardless, seeing wildlife like this lends a great feeling and a bigger admiration for Vermont, the real place to live!

Along the road it was apparent what a giant problem wild chervil has become in Vermont. It is carried by vehicles and wherever a seed drops, it turns invasive. The University of Vermont Extension Service wrote this piece about it eleven years ago and I doubt the author knew at the time what a giant problem it would become. Try this link: wild chervil

The picture up top is a bank at a neighbors where the chervil has overtaken what was a very nice perennial garden. Years back when Gail owned the property she hired a local guy to cut the chervil down with a weed whacker. A couple days after the job he was limping around with sorry looking legs having been splattered by the plant sap as he mowed down the chervil. Maybe not everyone is allergic to the plant but for him, the reaction was no different than that of poison ivy. Right now in Vermont you can see large patches of this plant along every road. We even have some near the front door this year that must have seeded in from the road. Another invasive to add to the list. Because people love white flowers, I offer a strong cautionary note that you should not pick "wild and white" unless you know what you are doing. A flat topped white flower may look like Queen Anne's Lace to you but this is too early for that to bloom in Vermont so what you pick may not be what you think. Be careful!

Any minute now one of my friends will call demanding to know if I'm laying flat with my leg elevated. I don't want to have to tell a story. It's a beautiful day out there this morning so if you can, get out for a walk. Wonder where the bear is walking now????

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
Growing Hardy Plants For Hardy Vermonters and Their Friends!

No comments: