February is for lovers. But not just for those who celebrate their affection on Valentine’s Day. It’s for Nature’s lovers, as well. February is the month when we see plants begin to re-emerge from the soil after several months of respite. And so the natural cycle begins again—a cycle that renews and refreshes those of us drawn to the mystery and beauty of Nature.
This month, we held three work parties at Point Isabel and we also took a small crew back to Brooks Island to continue our ice plant and trash removal work there. The rain softened the earth at Point Isabel, and at steward Margot’s Richmond “Adopt-a-Spot” at the corner of Central Avenue and Rydin Road, and made it much easier for us to remove invasive mallow along with oxalis, radish, oat grass, thistle and dandelion. We planted purple needlegrass (Stipa pulchra) donated by Delia Taylor, and sagebrush (Artemisia californica). We were delighted to see the eight arroyo willows leaf out and that the cottonwood is in bud. The buckeyes were the first to emerge with their spring-green crown of leaves looking like candelabras. Project volunteer and CNPS member Janet Gawthrop spent a good part of a February day with us updating the plant list she created for us several years ago and providing us with updated names of the plants.
On our February 19 trip to Brooks Island, we were happy to see that the areas we had cleared of ice plant last year were still clear and looking beautiful. Together with Ranger Nick from the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) we worked on several areas and pulled up 60 large piles of ice plant. Core volunteer Rob worked non-stop picking up trash. Sad to say, there was so much of it we could barely fit it in the boat on the trip back to the Richmond Marina! Nevertheless, Brooks Island looked a lot better at the end of the day. Late in the day we took a short hike to the top of the island and spotted countless violets (Viola douglasii) in full bloom alongside California biscuit root (Lomatium californica), blue dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum), and checker mallow (Sidalcea malviflora). The hillside was also covered in soap plant (Chlorogalum pomeridianum).
Special thanks to the EBRPD for their great support for us this busy month and for the fantastic trip to Brooks Island. And since it’s still February—love to all!
Jane and Tom Kelly
Flowers on Brooks Island, picture by Jane Kelly. Among those pictured are johnny-jump-ups (Viola peduculata),
blue dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum) and checkerblooms (Sidalcea malviflora). Photo by Jane Kelly.
Point Isabel work crew. Photo by Jane Kelly.
Arthur on Brooks Island. Photo by Jane Kelly.
Brooks Island trash haul. Photo by Jane Kelly.
Brooks Island work crew. Photo by Jane Kelly.