Snowballs keeping bluebells from time in the sun at Pony Pasture

This past weekend, another river cleanup was planned for Pony Pasture. Snow and ice left over from last week’s dusting prevented that from happening. But the target of the cleanups isn’t trash, it is invasive species of plants.

Among the invasive species targeted to be removed are Japanese honeysuckle, English ivy, China-berry, and wisteria.

“Anything you see that is green [in December] needs to be removed,” said park manager Ralph White. There are the occasional green cedar to break up the brown, but they don’t concern White.

Wild Virginia bluebells on Williams Island, across from Pony PastureThe goal, beginning in the parking area at Pony Pasture, is to continue working eastward to The Wetlands, removing invasive species, planting and encouraging more attractive and helpful native plants, such as Virginia bluebells.

“Bluebells are attractive and commonly found along the river,” White said. This isn’t the first time efforts have been made to remove invasive species. The money for the replanted bluebells comes from donations and the labor is usually for volunteers from organizations like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and HandsOn Greater Richmond.

This past weekend’s cleanup was rescheduled for January 15 and will certainly not be the last, so please take the time to volunteer one Saturday morning.

As for Virginia bluebells, those herbaceous plants grow best in moist, rich, and loamy soils, according to information from several gardening websites. They can be found in upland forests, floodplain forests, wetlands and bluffs and prefer slight to full shade. Flowering occurs from March until May. Butterflies are the most common pollinators, because they can easily perch on the edges and still enjoy the nectar. The flowers die rather quickly, and the plants are usually dormant by early June.

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