The Newton Conservators are a great volunteer group that are the protectors, watchdogs, and advocates for all of our park land. Much of their work, as you might expect, has to do with conserving the best of our parks. A dedicated group of Conservators also works on ripping out the worse – and that means Garlic Mustard.
Garlic mustard is a lovely looking, highly invasive plant that can be found all over the eastern US. Once established, it spreads quickly and crowds out most of the local vegetation.
All spring long, the Conservators have been organizing garlic mustard pulls in various neighborhoods around the city. In each neighborhood, they recruit local volunteers and go to work. Today, was Upper Falls’ turn, with the work centered on a bit of Hemlock Gorge and a lot of Quinnobequin Rd.
The Conservator’s Katherine Howard is a walking encyclopedia of every garlic mustard patch in Newton. She shows the volunteers how to ID the nasty weed, how to pull it and dispose of it and then off they go. This morning’s crew of eight included local Alderman Brian Yates who was back for his second year as a mustard puller. Between his work today pulling weeds and next week’s gig as a waiter at The Feast of the Falls, Alderman Yates is doing a lot of work with direct public service these days.
By morning’s end there were a big stack of black trash bags piled up at the bottom of Ellis St, ready for disposal by the DCR. I snuck back and snagged my own cache of the troublesome weed this afternoon. A friend sent me a recipe for what she claims is a delicious garlic mustard pesto. I’ll let you know how that turns out.
The only sour note on the morning was that one of the volunteers left their bicycle by the side of Quinnobequin Rd. When he came out of the woods, his bike was gone. If anyone has any information about this please contact me ([email protected])