I found this little beauty in my woods last week, tucked in between a swamp maple and a tulip poplar. A welcome sight she is in my deer-and-invasive-species-ravaged woodland.
My newspaper column this week is about garlic mustard, but that's not the only marauder I've got. The bittersweet, however, is pretty much eradicated on my 2 1/2 acres, and I tolerate the few stands of barberry. In a minuscule attempt to at forest restoration, each year I transplant more tree seedlings to the edge, and vigorously apply my homemade deer repellent further into the woods.
But there are no baby or adolescent trees left in the interior. The deer have devoured them all, leaving only the mature forest, ever thinner and more open to plant invaders. When those trees die a natural death there will be nothing left of the once-grand forest. Will people care then? Will there be a real, coordinated effort to control the deer population at that point?
I hope so.
In the meantime, my small efforts to bring back a tiny portion of the forest pays off when I see skunk cabbage, jack-in-the-pulpit, and ephemeral wildflowers like this red trillium.
Somebody's got to care.