February's native plant workshop, held this past Sunday, was like one of those White Tornado commercials from the 60s, a whirlwind of clean energy zipping through the Mountain Lakes greenhouse, putting everything in order. Pots were stacked, space was cleared for growing the coming season's wildflowers, and Kim led a project to render the unlatchable greenhouse door once again safe and functional.
Prior to the cleanup, we had walked up the long driveway, identifying woody plants as we went. Everyone got up to speed on distinguishing native spicebush from exotic shrub honeysuckle and multiflora rose. And then we started identifying trees by their bark and form. Shagbark hickory lived up to its name, the walnut bark was dark with deep furrows, the red oaks had flat, gray "ski tracks" running down the trunk, and a Kentucky coffee tree had gray "potato chips" flaring out. There were also some very impressive black cherries, pignut hickories and silver maples. Tiny red spots on the pavement proved to be fallen flowers from the silver maples, which get an early start on spring.
Susy of the Whole Earth Center provided cider and cookies. There were nine of us, all told. Thanks to all!
-- These native plant workshops are sponsored by Friends of Princeton Open Space and the Whole Earth Center.