some examples, intentional or not, can be found in Princeton.
"... a diverse mosaic of habitats: native broadleaf woodland of oak, birch, rowan, and hazel; areas of mature and younger conifer; fern-clad hollows; and patches of heathland where the heather, gorse, and purple moor-grass harbour a host of wildlife."
"Fernclad hollows? Heather, gorse, purple moor-grass? If I had read the sign then and there, I would have launched myself up the trail for a closer look. Instead I took a photo of the sign, to ostensibly read later, and returned to the Sandstone House, still carrying the misconception that heather only grows further north, up towards Scotland. Rowan turns out to be the European equivalent of our mountain ash. Gorse looks a bit like a shrub called Scotch broom, with similarly bright yellow leguminous flowers. Both were introduced to the western U.S. and became invasive. It would have been good to see how gorse grows in its native habitat of Britain. The sign also says that Hargate Forest has its own invasive species, rhododendron, which is being removed.
One big surprise was the presence of palm trees in southern Great Britain. The photo below was taken in Torquay (pronounced tor-KEY, home of Faulty Towers) where our band did a workshop at a boy's grammar school. A grammar school, I learned, doesn't refer to teaching grammar but to the need to test to get in. Palm trees, yuccas, Bird of Paradise--the flora along the south coast was more reminiscent of Pasadena, CA than my preconception of a uniformly cold, damp England.
highly invasive in the midwestern U.S., forming thick stands along highways. It probably will become problematic in NJ over time. Typically there's a lack of indigenous herbivores and diseases to keep an introduced plant in check when it becomes invasive on other continents. Teasel is, as mentioned, a striking plant, sometimes used in dry flower arrangements. Invasive is another way of saying "too much of a good thing." It would be interesting to see how teasel behaves in the English landscape, beyond the confines of a 10 X 20 butterfly garden.
The wannabe urban planner in me would like to take a moment to heap praise upon shallow setbacks, which I will pretend is a botanical term for locating homes close to the street. The small front yard thus created is a manageable space for having a small garden. Princeton has some neighborhoods with these smaller setbacks, but where homes are placed far from the street, not only is it less likely one will get to know one's neighbor, but the vast front yard thus created is also too big for most people to garden. The solution most homeowners gravitate towards is a boring, sterile expanse of mowed lawn. In England, I was glad for the feeling of embrace the narrow streets and their close-in buildings create.
wonderful post about Virginia creeper by a woman in London who describes herself this way: "Bug Woman is a slightly scruffy middle-aged woman who enjoys nothing more than finding a large spider in the bathroom."
Along with the loss of wildlife, there's also the mourning of the attrition of hedgerows in the countryside. Apparently a lot were removed after WWII, when farming shifted towards maximum production and the hedgerows were standing in the way of expanding fields. Our pianist for the week, Adam Biggs, lives in Bath and described to me how hedgerows are not so much planted as "laid". There's a whole technique to creating and maintaining hedgerows, which are promoted as important habitat for wildlife.
A closer look reveals important anatomical differences between various strains of humanity.