On Saturday, January 24, 2015, from 10 am to noon, volunteers maintained Harlock Place Park, the Steilacoom pocket park on Galloway Street. We usually meet on the third Saturday morning. It was a warm cloudy morning, just right to work outdoors. A few weeks before, Nick, arborist of Zeb Haney’s “Tree Source” company, donated a pile of Douglas fir chips. We spread them on the trail on top of the existing chips where weeds were growing.
We had a great morning. Five adults and five boys worked together. Clayton and son, Adam, Noah and sons, Luke and Seth, and Diane loaded wheelbarrows with chips and dumped the chips along the trail. Milt raked the chips smooth. Adam and Sally pulled up weeds along the trail and ivy growing among the sword ferns along the trail, and removed scotch broom along the street side of the park. Seth, and later Luke, joined the scotch broom team. Along came Ashton and Chandler who each industriously used the town scotch broom tool and cut back Himalayan blackberry vines along the street side of the park.
It was delightful to have children who came with their fathers and children who live in the immediate neighborhood enthusiastically contribute. It was a fun way for the children and adults to participate in stewardship in their own neighborhood. The children ranged from almost four years old to eleven years old.
As we worked, we observed changes in plant growth. New growth on plants seemed really early this year. During the morning, we identified healthy salal and Oregon grape happily growing as were catkins hanging on a hazel nut tree. We saw new leaf buds forming on the Himalayan blackberry vines (a very good time of year to cut them back and pull up the ends that had rooted). We learned that the scotch broom plant has a deep root with condominium side roots. It was effective and satisfying to use the scotch broom tool to pull them up by the roots.