Whitehead Park 2020

Jan 2020

6 January – 27 January

Jan 6: Audrey, Mary & Lori met for 2 hours for the WHP planting planning [=7.5 hrs] plus WHP walk about Mary & Lori x 1 hr [=3.5 hrs]. I add 0.5 hr for each person driving time, so 15 min there & home. Today: 11.5 hrs total.

Jan 20th: Audrey, Kathleen, Mary & Lori met.  4 people for 1.75 hours plus 3 hours Lori for photography here & earlier at the Flats plus posting photos here & fb. Total today: 12 hrs

From Whitehead Park, a juvenile Bald eagle is interested in the bait-ball. Jan 20/ 2020

Walking on the west side:

One of the large willows.

Circling toward the east side of the park.

Standing on the ramp, looking up Tod Creek and toward the park’s east side.

Before shot: volunteers standing in front of the area to be mulched today.

Dumping the mulch.

Looking at things from both sides now…

Looking back toward the park’s west side, almost from where we were spreading the mulch.

Mulch spread over this corner of the plot.

It’s hard to see in these two photos, but Audrey & Mary are tying the Hardhack up. During the winter, the grasses & Horses Tail have held the rain & snow, bringing the Hardhack to a lying down position.

The team: Kathleen, Mary and Audrey.

Jan 6th: these photos belong above [under this correct date]. 

Whitehead Park, west-side.

Crossing Goward Bridge

Whitehead Park, east-side

Oregon-grape [Mahonia aquifolium], historically used by First Nations for dye for basket material and medicinally but with caution; the tart purple berries can be eaten, especially as an excellent jelly; and can make wine.

Slough sedge [Carex obnupta]. When first assessing whether a grass or sedge: remember the catchphrase “Sedges have edges, rushes are round, grasses have knees that bend to the ground. … The ‘knees’ of grasses are joint-like nodes found along round, hollow stems. The stems of sedges and rushes are solid; in cross-section the stems of rushes are round, while those of sedges are triangular and so have edges.” [see https://www.centralcoastbiodiversity.org/grasses-sedges-and-rushes.html ]

Resilient willow

Rose hips

Resident beaver damage

west-side, beautiful bark

west-side, looking toward east-side

Jan 27th

Audrey, Kathleen, Mary & Lori spreading mulch and weeding. 4 people for 1.75 hrs each: total 9 hrs [more hours noted on spreadsheet r/t website & meeting].

Lungwort [Lobaria pulmonaria]. If any mistakes in ID, they are certainly only mine. I’m using “Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest” Second ed., by Bruce McCune and Linda Geiser.

Feb 3/ 2020

We continued clearing out the old horsetail and the odd blackberry from the hardhack. The hope is that they will be able to stand up. Audrey tied some with surveyors tape for the time being. Kathleen put the last of the chips on the path and raked the “works yard” ready for more. The water has been very high, and some of the path is still underwater. Afterward we went round and showed Kathleen the lake access opposite Meadowbrook. 4 people for 1 hour.


2 views of the same site as in the above photo, comparing water levels

These are almost exact same perspective, above and below.

Above Mary stands at the far end of the trail, clearly seen in the photo below.

10th Feb 

We worked at cleaning up. Audrey and Lori tied up the hardhack that has been pulled toward the sun and held down by composting horsetail. I cleaned up as well and Kathleen spread the remainder of the chips on the trails. We are now ready for more mulch. 4 people for 1 hour.

Common Snowdrop [Galanthus nivalis], members of the Amarylidaceae family, native to Europe and the Middle East. Feb 10/2020

Whitehead Park, east-side: the tall grass & Horsetail have weighted the bushes [mostly the Hardhack] down to flat.

Here Audrey leads us in clearing the grass & Horsetail off the bushes, tying the Hardhack to wood stakes, held upright [see next photo].

Tod Creek water levels remain high, Feb 10/ 2020.

Feb 17

Saanich has delivered lots of glorious black mulch. We spread it around the tidied up hardhack with Sherron and Lori wheeling the barrows and Mary spreading it around the hard hack while Audrey continued clearing horsetail and reed canary grass from more hardhack. 4 people for 1 hour.

Beaver damage to one of our tree plantings.

Hair ice. See our page “Local Photos: Flora” for an explanation from Smithonian Magazine.

Mary & Sherron on the trail beside Tod Creek, which was under water only two weeks ago.

Still rescuing the Hardhack up: pulling the water-weighted grass & Horses Tail off the flattened bushes, tying them upright, and spreading mulch throughout.

Feb 24th

We continued spreading the mulch and clearing more hardhack and ocean spray of the horsetail that pulls it down. The part we did last week looks much healthier and is almost ready to stand up on its own. At 10:30 Jill Tuson and Katie from Saanich came. They had the plants we ordered and generally had a look around. They gave the thumbs up to what we had been doing. They drove the 100 or so plants to Mary’s house where they are stored until we can arrange a work party. Jill and Katie had to go but Lori, Kathleen and Mary had coffee. 3 people for 2 hours.

Alaska violet [Viola langsdorfii] Pojar & MacKinnon p. 201, going by the shape of the leaves, as opposed to Early Blue violet [Viola adunca]. Feb 24/ 2020

Saanich staff, Jillian Tuson and Katie Turner, toured the park with us today. Here they identified deer rubbings on this tree trunk.

Jill and Katie also delivered these plants for us.

March 2nd

Lori and Mary continued spreading mulch on the hardhack. We noticed that it is shading out the reed canary grass so we made sure to spread it thickly in hopes that it continues to keep the rcg down. The birds are coming back in great numbers. (2 people for 1 hour)

March 9th

We continue to spread mulch on the hardhack on both sides of the path. We also watched the birds – red winged blackbird, winter wren, Bewicks wren, eagles and many others. Lori, Audrey, Mary and Valerie HB. (4 people for 1 hour)

March 16th: Planting Party, see “Activities Page” for photos of the event.

In spite of the Covid-19 virus, we held our planting party figuring we were outside and spread out. Some arrived at 9:30 to spread out the plants and others came at 10:00 to help tuck them in. We tried to choose spots where they would do well, and we planted in mass groups where we could. We will see how they do. Audrey, Lori, Mandy (a Camosun College student doing work experience), Mary, Valerie, Winona, Bernie, and Carmel were there. After coffee break we placed the lovely labels made by Lori and Michael beside our new plants. 8 people for 3 hours.

Salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis: moist to wet ecology, fruit is edible [p.76]. Found WHP east-side, by the classroom.

The Plantings: plant names [common & scientific], some info, and page number are all from Pojar and MacKinnon. 

These photos are of this month’s planting, and of our older plants: some seedlings, some bare bushes, some early flowerings.

Western Trillium, Trillium ovatum: moist to wet ecology, leaves, petals, sepals & stigmas ‘in 3s’ [p.102]. Forested lot, Prospect Lake area. This flower is just beginning to turn pink, so an aging bloom.

Pacific Water Parsley, Oenanthe sarmentosa: “WARNING: reputed to be poisonous…” strong laxative & vomit-inducing [p. 216]. Placed WHP east-side, along Tod Creek, by Alder trees.

Fringecups, Tellima grandiflora: moist forest, glades, stream-banks [p.167]

Skunk Cabbage, Lysichiton americanum: bright yellow flowers 30 to 150 cm tall, large leaves, skunky odour, found in swamps & fens, wet ecology [p.334]

Early Blue Violet, Viola adunca: perennial, not to be confused w/ Alaska violet nor Howell’s violet [p.201]

Mountain Sneezewood, Helemium autumnale: perennial, wet ecology, lovely yellow flowers, 3 lobed at tips pointing downward [p.290]

Golden-eyed-grass, Sisyrinchium californicum: showy yellow flowers usually open in the morning & close by mid-day, wet ecology [p.115]

Nootka Rose, Rosa nutkana: spindly, up to 3 metres, large pink flowers, have a pair of large prickles at the base of each leaf [p.74]

Clustered wild rose, Rosa pisocarpa: wet ecology, has several clustered flowers vs the solitary flower found in Nootka rose, Rosa nutkana [p.74]

Indian-Plum, Oemleria cerasiformis: shrub/ small tree, lovely white flowers hang in long clusters, appearing very early in spring, bitter berries [p.72]

Black Hawthorn, Crataegus douglasii: large shrub/ small tree, with long sharp thorns, white stinky flowers [p.73]

We have a few hawthorn trees, more photos to follow. As you can see, the accent is on the ‘thorn’ here.

more text to follow on these photos:


Not photographed here:

Pacific Ninebark, Physocarpus capitatus: shrub with shredding bark, white flowers in clusters [p.73]

Black Twinberry [Bearberry Honeysuckle], Lonicera involucrata: shrub, berries not considered edible [p.69]

April 24: Hardhack update

Audrey’s patch of Hardhack [Spiraea douglasii], standing up and flourishing. The bare bushes were flattened by snow and then ice freezing the Reed Canary Grass [Phalaris arundinacea] and remnants of Horsetail [Equisetum arvense]; so we pulled and raked the Hardhack free and then tied each bush to a stake until they recovered.

Scroll up toward Jan 20th, Feb 10th, Feb 17th, and March 2nd for ‘before’ photos of the Hardhack.

May 7th

Water level in Tod Creek.

Western Trillium [Trillium ovatum] May 7/20. A recent planting, along the trail from Goward Road, Whitehead Park-east.

May 13th

Whitehead Park-west side: Trail from Goward Road parking lot, to the wharf lake access.

Standing on the wharf, looking toward WHP-east side.

The ‘Classic Photo’ where the photo monitoring started for WHP [see our first entry: Whitehead Park 2010]

The entry to WHP-east side, from Goward Road.

Unfortunately, we have patches of Shiny-geranium [Geranium lucidum ]; here it’s taken hold where people have dumped their garden waste. Also called shining crane’s bill, is a low-growing annual Eurasian plant that has escaped from gardens into wild lands.

Horsetail has grown along the path. We keep it as decoy for deer, protecting the new plantings.

Tod Creek is directly to the right of this photo. Earlier this year, there is a photo of Mary standing at the far end, the trail completely underwater.

The Hardhack is looking robust.

Scroll up to April 24th photo for comparison, spring is greening the park.

Common horsetail [Equisetum arvense]: this is one of the two different stalks: the infertile stalk.

Horsetail: fertile jointgrass stalk on the left/ infertile stalk to the right.

The fertile ‘jointgrass’ produces the cone-like structure at the top, which is covered with spore-producing scales.

Oregon grape [Mahonia aquifolium].

The last of the Trillium we planted this spring.

Top: Oregon grape; mid level: Fringecup; ground level: Sword fern.

Early blue violet [Viola adunca].

Native trailing blackberry.

New grass plantings, beside the streambed, draining down from Goward Road [just visible on the far right of this photo].

June 15th

Our first working day, post Covid-19.

Here is a tour around the park: first two photos are from the west side; then Mary & Kitty working the east side; and the last two photos return to west site.

Hawthorn tree blossoms [Crataegus monogyna].

Shiny-geranium [Geranium lucidum ].

Mary facing the Hardhack, which is almost hidden among the tall grass and horse tail [compare to Feb 3rd photo above].

This is a standard photo for comparing seasons and the work accomplished on the east side.

Tools of the trade.

Tod Creek to the right, in Feb this part of the trail was under water [compare to photo above from Feb 10th].

Tod Creek water level today.

West side:

West side standard photo for comparing the work accomplished in Whitehead Park.

June 20th

Whitehead Park, west side.

Preparing to work, with Covid-19 safety in place:

Crossing Tod Creek, on Goward Road. Here we measure the water levels:

WHP, east-side:

A small shake highlights the seeds of Reed Canary grass [Phalaris arundinacea], a vigorous, productive, long-lived, perennial; the coarse, erect stems may reach a height of 6 to 8 feet; and seed is borne in an open panicle which ripens from the top down and shatters readily as it matures. There are approximately 480,000 seeds/pound [ each seed is shiny, flattened, and small, about 4 mm long].

Hardhack barely showing above the Reed Canary grass and horsetail.

Hardhack blooms starting.

Today’s team Kathleen, Audrey, Mary & Lori: 1.5 hours for 4 people.

June 29th

Also: see our Kid’s Page for a couple of photos of young fishers to the park this morning.

Audrey in the Hardhack.

Hardhack starting to bloom.

Hardhack [Spiraea douglasii]: Erect, thicket-forming shrub with many shoots and branches. Leaves deciduous, alternating along branches, with short petioles, oval to oblong, dark green on top. Flowers many, pink to rose in pointed, erect cluster, much longer than broad. Grows in moist areas in forest, bogs, fens, streambanks, at low to mid elevations. Var. douglasii has finely matted gray hairs on underside of leaves. Var. menziesii is without hairs on underside of leaves. From “Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest” by Mark Turner & Phyllis Gustafson.

Right: Cranesbills, aka Spotted Geranium [Geranium maculatum]: a genus of about 400 species. We didn’t plant it, so suspect it arrived as a gift from someone dropping off their weeds at the entrance to WHP-eastside. Left: Plant ID app (PictureThis) states Pacific blacksnakeroot aka Gambleweed [Sanicula crassicaulis], but open for sugestion, if someone recognizes it as something else.

I lightened the pile of weeds we pulled today, left-side of photo, beside Mary.

July 13th

Mary, Kathleen & Kitty. Mary’s right hand shows the pile of weeds we’ve added to today.

July 20th

Aug 3rd

Balance: our mulch pile on the right is gone and our weed pile on the left is big. Today’s crew: Kitty, Mary, Kathleen [L to R], and Lori [not pictured].

The future is indeed looking very bright.

This enthusiastic young environmentalist is discussing the pros and cons of Horsetail with Kitty.

Aug 10/ 20 work continues

Whitehead Park, Monday Aug 24th: The light was perfect. 

Aug 31st: Working on our new mulch piles. Audrey, Caleigh, Kathleen, Lori & Mary worked for 1.5 hours each.

Sept 7th: Below are Audrey, Mary, Kitty & Kathleen by our second diminishing mulch piles. Note the beaver dam on Tod Creek under Goward Road.

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