Lake Washington

More weeding & swimming in the Mountains to Sound Greenway.

Lake Washington was at its finest during the height of a hot summer.  Fortunately the large Oregon ash / Fraxinus latifolia trees in the wetland buffer shaded us as we pulled noxious weeds from native plantings.  After working at a leisurely pace in the sultry weather we were joined by even more homeschooling friends for a fun afternoon in the refreshing lake.    

Conspicuous across our work site were thick mats of dead (for the summer) noxious stickyweed / Galium aparine that had clearly been smothering the small native plants back in spring when their growth is rampant.  The dry mats of stringy, grasping stems made clear why it is also known by the name bedstraw and also cleavers, as evident by the grasping round seedballs left all over our clothes and gloves.  Surely you know them.  Indeed it was such small hooks on burrs that inspired the creation of velcro.  Our less-seen native species of Galium include small bedstraw / Galium trifidum & boreal bedstraw / Galium boreale.  They are in the family Rubiaceae, which includes coffee, and supposedly the seeds of G. aparine can be used as a substitute as well as having edible foliage with medicinal properties.

A perfect post-weeding swim in Lake WA on Mercer Island.

Mountains to Sound Greenway choose a shady spot for our weeding work beneath a large Oregon ash / Fraxinus latifolius at Luther Burbank Park.  The soil was completely dry, but the native plantings were hanging on well.  So were the weeds.  We kept busy pulling noxious species away from the rose, mahonia & red osier dogwood.  There were many invasive common hawthorn / Crataegus monogyna seedlings.  To our chagrin, we looked up at our lunchbreak tree on the park lawn and saw a lovely small tree of just this invasive variety.  The children were very confused as to why it was preserved by the park staff while we had worked all morning to eradicate its progeny.  Perhaps an interesting lesson on multi-agency/organization coordination.  This is certainly a tree that should be hit with the mower.

We swam at the quiet north end of the park, enjoying wide views across Lake Washington.  We even had the amazing opportunity to see a dragon/damsel fly nymph (larvae) emerge from its watery lifecycle and gradually unfurl its wings over 10m or so.  Stunning.  

Read about their amazing life cycle  here .

Read about their amazing life cycle here.