The heavy invasion of wisteria throughout Odd Fellows Cemetery has created a woodscape very different from the nearby one I roamed as a child. The forest floor is nearly sterile, completely lacking the diverse native flora you would expect to find in a North Carolina Inner Coastal Plain woodland (even a young one). I was surprised, then, to come across this little ebony spleenwort as we stripped a dense cascade of vines from a gum tree last weekend.
I knew it wouldn’t tolerate being blasted by sunlight, so I went back to rescue it for transplant in my home garden. My shovel hit wisteria roots on every side, however, and I had to leave it.
Brushing back the leaf mold exposed the straps of root pinning this fern to the ground.
It’s the season in which Odd Fellows Cemetery’s principal scourge is at its most charming, dripping shimmery lavender racemes. In two seasons, though, Lane Street Project volunteers have flushed the wisteria from the treetops, and its showy flowers now appear only at the edges of the woods.
Removal of a few decades of leaf litter has exposed the dense lattice of wisteria that scores the forest floor above and below ground.
Now that the canopy’s been cleared, increased sunlight is spurring the rampant growth of young wisteria shoots.
Toward the back of Odd Fellows, thick ropes of wisteria continue to strangle trees.
Please consider joining us for a cemetery cleanup. The next two are scheduled for April 9 and 23. Thank you!
I’ve never been inside Odd Fellows during growing season, and it shows. One vine-strangled pine looks much like any other, and who would have guessed the young wisteria would be chest-high in mid-April? I meandered fruitlessly for two hours, lopping listlessly at random ropes of vine, acutely conscious that unless I stumbled over the pile, I would pass right by and never see it. So many lessons to learn, including “BLAZE TRAILS.”
This is wisteria. Its lovely lilac racemes are harbingers of spring and the Easter season. It is also a scourge, invading native landscapes, girdling trees, and smothering trees via dense networks of runners that criss-cross the woodland floor. Wisteria eradication is the greatest challenge to reclaiming Odd Fellows and Rountree Cemeteries, but our teams of volunteers have made unbelievable progress in just three months.
LSP volunteer days at Odd Fellows are normally the first and third Saturday. However, Easter is the first Sunday in April this year, and for that reason we are shifting to the 2nd and 4th Saturdays for the month. We’ll need all the help we can get as the weather warms up and privet, honeysuckle, and wisteria try once again to overwhelm the cemetery. We also need help with two side projects — the pruning of trees and shrubs around the monument in Vick cemetery, and application of defoliant chemicals at Odd Fellows.
If you’ve been thinking of coming out, please do — and bring a friend. If you’ve already been, please come back — and bring your sorority sisters, your lodge brothers, your motorcycle club, your soccer team, your usher board, your anybody!