Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Nature comes with sweets

Our city is pretty broke, and you can tell by the changes along the bike path where we often take our walks. Nothing gets pruned anymore. If a large tree branch falls across the pavement, it's dragged off to the side and left to rot.

Weeds grow up tall and threaten to become a fire danger. Then we notice that they were mostly cut down, apparently by some large machine that doesn't get the borders of anything.

So to the eye, the landscape is less lovely than before. Not like the countryside, which is normally wild and ungroomed, but like a planted garden that is neglected.
It's not easy to tell which shrubs were planted decades ago by the city, and which have come over and under the fences of the yards bordering the walkways. The privets are obviously man-planted, and there are rows of the big bushes with hundreds of honeybees drinking at them all right now.

On the last few walks I didn't notice the raggedness so much because the higher temperatures have brought out the warm aromas of summer, and I was looking around hungrily to discover the source. Mr. Glad and I usually stride along at the fastest pace possible, and I've been wanting to get back there by my lonesome to meander with my camera. This morning I did.

There is a lot of this sort of thing, a messy mix of oak, privet, and foxtails. But those foxtails and other grasses are some of the sweetest smells filling the air.

The quietness is lush. Maybe all the children were enjoying the first days without school by sleeping in, or something less wholesome. Other than a couple on their bikes, and one woman walking her dog, I was alone with the songbirds and buzzing insects.

Sequoia sempervirens

Whatever cut the weeds, it threw layers of the cuttings to the side, on top of the desirable plants, jumbling up the scene even more.

But a flowering vine had escaped from a back yard and made a bright spot in the tangle, and the growing tips of redwood trees always look fresh and clean. There are lots of pretty plants I don't know the names of; I'm happy they don't pay any mind to property lines.

This is one that makes red berries for us, to decorate the house with at Christmas. Now is the time for it to make heady aromas. Potato vine was climbing over wooden fences...

...And honeysuckle - While I have to keep after the vine in my yard with clippers, so that it doesn't take over, along the bike path it can do what it wants, and bless my nose every time I get near.

Looking down toward the creek, you can see past the Queen Anne's Lace the lower road running under the footbridge. I crunched through stickery stuff to get close to the flower.

I went down to that dirt path for a view of the creek, which is not noticeably flowing at this time of year. Horsetail grass and other more watery plants still grow in the mud.

horsetail grass
On my return loop I passed the park where our children used to play soccer, and where they claimed their own particular redwood trees to climb and perch in. There wasn't much competition from the neighborhood children because it's a prickly business, climbing a redwood tree.

Years after they abandoned their trees the city began trimming the lower branches. I don't know if that would make climbing harder or easier.

All these soft comforts of a summer morning were better than breakfast. Next time I'll try to get out the door even earlier for my sweet treats.


Pom Pom said...

Hi GJ!
Your walk was lucious. I was noticing how trimmed everything was up in Vail. I'm sure it's because the tourists want to see controlled beauty. Either way, I love the green like you do!

Gumbo Lily said...

Oh how I enjoyed that morning walk with you Gretchen Joanna! The picture of QAL in front of the path was really pretty, and I just love horsetail grass. I think I'd enjoy walking with you in "real life," but I will settle for this just fine. It is fun seeing your world through your eyes.


M.K. said...

What a beautiful path! You're so fortunate to have it nearby. I wonder -- since the city is broke, maybe the residents who live nearby and like to use it, could band together and have a "trimming day" to restore it to better order? Although it appears there are olfactory benefits to this messiness :) Enjoy your path!

Cranberry Morning said...

Love that bridge over the stream - and all the wildflowers.

Donna Witek said...

Hi Gretchen Joanna :) What lovely pictures of green! I hope it's ok but I decided to "pin" a few of them on my Gardens board on Pinterest. I included your URL and attribution info in the captions (in addition to the images themselves linking back here of course)... But do let me know if you'd rather I didn't pin your photos, and I'll definitely take them down. Thank you for sharing such delightful moments from your walk!

GretchenJoanna said...

Donna, you are welcome to use any of my pictures.

M.K., I told my husband about your idea and suggested it would be a good project in his retirement, to organize the neighborhood this way. He was amused. :-)

Jeannette said...

It is an interesting distinction...wild versus out of hand once contained areas... I think expanding your gardening clean-up beyond what you already do would be, well, to be succinct, nuts. It is sweet how much enjoyment you get from the path as it is.

Please wish Mr. Glad a very fine Father's Day from the "Breads."

That plant that later gives you red berries is one
of the Cotoneaster varieties.

Lisa Richards said...

Loved seeing all of your greenery! This reminds me that I should get out and take advantage of the hiking trail that runs right by my house. Sometimes the closer they are the more we take them for granted! Thanks for the virtual hike!

GretchenJoanna said...

Ah, yes, Jeannette, you were the one who told me the name of the cotoneaster last time I posted its picture. I knew I had been introduced to it before....