Wednesday, April 28, 2010
they're at it again
You can always tell the good weather has arrived in Portland when the winter-fattened inhabitants come out to jog along the sidewalk of Terwilliger, a long stretch of tree lined road we think of as our driveway, situated a couple of hundred feet above the city and the Willamette River. Sweat drenched, huffing and puffing, most of them don't run the course more than once but there's another group who've proven to be a lot more committed. They are known as the 'Friends of Terwilliger' and just to keep things simple I'll refer to them as the FOT's.
The FOT's have a mission, a daunting one, for it's their intention to remove every leaf and root of the english ivy that was planted in city gardens long ago. The climate here is so mild and wet that it wasn't long before this ubiquitous plant spread itself far and wide. It invaded the parks including Portland's Forest Park, the biggest in the city and generally recognized to be the largest urban park in the country. I don't want you to get the mistaken idea that Stumptown's founders began with the intention of leaving a pristine wilderness as a legacy for generations to come. Once they removed as many of the original trees as they could reach they recognized the land up here is too precipitous for building and the woods eventually grew back. Except for a small portion allowed for the Zoo, the Rose Gardens and the Japanese Garden, which are all very pretty, the rest is wild and covered in moss and ivy.
Every spring weekend the FOT's arrive dressed in gardening duds, carrying digging tools and sacks. Sometimes a crew sets up just behind our place but most of them, and they're never many, never enough, set up along Terwilliger and begin hacking their way through the ivy that grew back during the winter.. since the last time they were here. It grows up every tree and keeps company with the moss. The FOT's are relentless, determined and tired by lunchtime on Saturdays. Then they go home and the english ivy grows.
As for me, I still prefer less exertion - like this: