Clear your blackberries.
We have a house in Astoria, Oregon. Behind it is a steep slope and above the slope are dense woods.
When we bought this place, the slope was covered in nasty invasive plants: Himalayan blackberry and ivy with a blanket of wild cucumber over the entire mess. I could see bits of sword ferns here and there but I couldn’t imagine that much else had survived under those vines.
But this winter I started clearing the vines away and it turns out there was tons of good stuff growing underneath. I restored a big swath of the slope this spring. Now it’s summer and, let me tell you, slowpokes, it’s totally beautiful.
A few of the things I found growing there:
I also found this today, buried in the ivy:
We just watched the Stranger Things finale and cassette tapes have been on our minds. This felt like some kind of weird message from the ivy. I wondered if the other things I’ve found buried in the ivy were also messages and, if so, what they meant.
I also planted some things on the slope: salal, evergreen huckleberry, currant, Oregon grape, and the western red cedar you can barely make out between these two foxgloves. It’s the feathery thing - my favorite tree.
Working on this slope has been bringing me a lot of uncomplicated joy. The more I clear, the more I find, the more things grow. If this hot mess world is getting you down, I recommend spending some time in the woods clearing invasive plants. Just start pulling them up and cutting them away. You might be amazed by what’s under there.
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