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A Wilderness in Strawberry Canyon?

Articles: A Wilderness in Strawberry Canyon?

Nature is dead, if by nature we mean something that stands apart from man and messy history.
Michael Pollan

I am a gardener. It‘s not just what I do, but somehow, more deeply, what I am. So it is with gardener’s eyes that I have observed and photographed a “natural,” untended area in Strawberry Canyon, below the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley, between Snowberry and Strawberry creeks. “Natural” is a subjective term: to my gardener’s eyes, it looks profoundly human influenced. My natural area could be fairly described as a garden of the last 150 years of mankind’s horticultural castaways and accidental introductions—sometimes benignly referred to as volunteers, brought by wind, water, and animal conveyance. Gardeners have a harsher term for such plants: weeds.

I have watched the progression of the seasons with a mixture of feelings. The lovely yellow flowers that catch my eye on a hardy, invasive shrub are appealing in themselves; yet, in the context of what they supplant and overwhelm, that curtain of yellow leaves me with sadness and dismay. The dominance of recently introduced plants is overpowering; yet, through it, we can still observe the remnants ...

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