Thursday, June 15, 2006

Back in the Hedge

Remember when we explored the hedge in the winter? Well, you’d hardly recognize it now! All those bare branches and rose trailers are in full leaf, and the hedgewalls are drooping under their own weight of fresh leaves and blossoms. Now when I venture into the hedge, I have to squat or crawl through most sections, often in near-blackness.

While I have not yet identified some of the smaller trees in the hedge, the multiflora roses (rosa multiflora) which comprise a fair portion of the hedge gave a wonderful showing in recent weeks along with the Japanese honeysuckle and grapevines. The whole world was saturated with the sweetness of flowers, a welcome visit to follow all the cherries and other flowering trees of mid-spring.

The multiflora rose was introduced to this region in the 19th century, and recommended for hedges just like these. However, over time, this species’ rapid and easy proliferation has shown its more invasive qualities, and careful management of this plant is now encouraged. Nonetheless, it makes for a beautiful, animal-friendly environment.

The birds, deer, bunnies, foxes, and other creatures have always frequented the hedge – but with the onset of spring they are out in force! I've followed deer through the hedge as they disappear into the woods. When I wander the tunnels, I am immediately surrounded by the red-winged blackbirds, whose usual songs are replaced with a near-quacking sound.

Undoubtedly the nests are near by, and I am being quarantined by the neighborhood watch program. While six to ten birds encircle me from the hedge, one takes the role of giving away my position by hovering over my head mrack-mracking all the while. (I’ve watched them do the same to a fox, and I wonder if I should take this behavior as a compliment, an insult, or merely by-the-way.)

Our image above of one of these red-winged black birds does not do them justice, but it was hard to get a clear picture as they bantered about. Intelligent birds
that they are, all nests were located safely away from the tunnels, so I couldn’t spot any chicks; given their behavior, I didn’t dare try to venture off the trail.

With the roses now spent, it’s a matter of waiting for rosehips to swell and grapevines to fruit. I do not believe these will produce edible grapes, but I did see another variety around my neighbor’s garden, which appear ripe and ready for picking. Looks like I need to bake some cookies and barter a trade!


  1. that looks heavenly. and how funny that the creatures are watching and following.

  2. I love the pathways through the arches and the bushes loaded with blooms. My favorite gardens, natural or landscaped, are the ones of slow discovery.

    By the way, on one of our hikes, I saw those vines that you talked about awhile back, that twist and loop around the trees. Did you ever figure out what those were?

  3. wonderful, wonderful, blog. see the way nature has just beautifuly enriched ur blog. how we tend to look for beauty else where forgeting what ahs been so freely given to us. I am glad I came by.

  4. April, Thanks! Indeed, I have a lot of fun watching and being watched in the woods. The deer really don’t seem too tickled to have me intruding… I actually had one sort of “grunt-bark-hiss” at me for walking towards it… as sort of “f-u, stinking human!”

    FrankenGirl, I definitely agree that they’re just watching out for their own, and protecting their space. I thought it was quite amusing, but as I said I didn’t venture off the trails… I’ve been dive-bombed and chased by crows when I went somewhere I wasn’t supposed to – it was just too weird.

    Also, thank you so much for the beautiful and thoughtful poem. I’ve been thinking about it ever since you shared it, and I just love it. Poetry is always welcome at Arboreality. Thank you again. :)

    Lily, as to your question about the vine, I’ve learned that it’s a type of wild grape, which was originally suggested by visitor Eric ( They’re actually rather invasive, and I’m not certain as to whether they are native species or not. My neighbor told me that when he first moved here twenty years ago, there was a section of grape vines so thick that it formed a perfectly domed cathedral – and that he could walk into it when it rained and stay perfectly dry! However, he had to cut it back… it chokes out most everything else, pretty though it is. I’m afraid it won’t produce edible grapes, according to what I’ve heard.

    Also, there seems to be a prevalence of climbing, twisting creepers around here of other sorts, grape being the most prominent. I don’t see the English ivy problem around here nearly as much as around Seattle though.

    Amara, welcome! I’m glad you stopped by too! I couldn’t agree more – beauty is all around us, in all stages of life and death, and I truly enjoy the opportunity to share my little glimpses of it from the trees.


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