Thursday, March 31, 2011

A New Garden Fence

This is the fence surrounding my garden and it’s obviously not new. I built the fence 24 years ago and combined the physical barrier with a strand or two of electrified wire to keep the deer from feasting on my garden bounty. The fence has exceeded its life expectancy and needs to be replaced. Normally, I would tear out the old and replace it with new, but I’m not comfortable following that course of action.
The wooden cedar posts that I used in the fence construction, have become the foundation for a multitude of lichen species. I’m not anxious to destroy what has taken over two decades to become established.

I’m not good at lichen identification, so I can’t say for sure how many species are actually here. I know that there are many rare lichens and that some lichens are sensitive indicators of environmental conditions. I don’t like to destroy things when I don’t know what they are.

I also feel some responsibility for the lichens having colonized here. I placed the fence posts and in so doing, I invited life to take up residence. If there is a chance that I inadvertently created a place for rarities to thrive, I don’t want to unknowingly destroy that habitat.

I would hate to be like the person that puts up a lawn ornament that also provides an unintended space for cavity nesting birds and then keeps cleaning out the resulting nests. I think it’s my responsibility to see that I’m not creating an attractant that will be detrimental to the local flora and fauna.

So, until I know more about lichens, I don’t want to destroy what’s growing on the fence posts. Besides, I really like lichens and I just enjoy having them growing in such an easy to view location. I still plan on replacing the fence, but I’ll do it in such a way that protects the posts and their lichens.


  1. And, images of lichens are so fascinating. If my vote counts, I vote to keep the fence posts, too. :)

  2. Lichens are fascinating things, that's for sure. I recognize a lot of the ones in your pictures but I am still not familiar enough to put names with faces. While out with some botanists from the Edge we ID'd 10 species on a single Ash tree. Pretty cool stuff!

  3. HI Steven ..Oh I like your photos of the lichen, especially the last one!
    I do love seeing them when I am out in the woods so many variety and spices, and colors or great!!
    I like that you have chosen to leave these and work around them !! : }}
    Try hanging your dirty socks or a bar of ivory soap!! It does keep the deer away but does get the neighbors curious!! hahaha!!

  4. Hi, Lois. I'll accept your vote. The posts stay.

    Hi, Andrew. Some day I'll have to spend some time learning to identify lichens. Sometimes it looks like there are dozens of species on a single tree. Maybe that's true, or maybe I'm just looking at various growth stages of the same species. Only study will tell.

    I must be in trouble, grammie g. That's the only time I'm called Steven. I've tried old clothes, soap and hair, but nothing seems to bother the deer. I once saved my hair from several cuttings and piled it on top of some cracked corn. The deer just nuzzled the hair out of the way and ate the corn.

  5. Hi STEVE...Don't know how I did that..hahahahaha!!!
    I don't even know anyone that I call Steve-n
    Know your not in trouble ...well not from me anyway!! : }}
    Those deer evidently never have had a whiff of my X husbands dirty socks!!

  6. Haha Grammie. Steve, this is really cool. I wouldn't destroy the fence either. I've been keeping an eye out for lichens lately as my fascination for them is growing, but I've never seen these - with the exception of one. A tough group of organisms to conquer! Please post if you ever do key any of these out.

  7. I like your practice of not destroying what you inadvertently created. Thought this might be useful to you if you don't already have the book:

  8. Hi, Mike. I'll definitely post ID's when I get them. I have the books, I just need the time to read them.

    Thanks, Katie. It seems to happen fairly often that I have something living where I had not intended it to be.