Revisiting a Nurse Log Composition

At the start of the pandemic in April of 2020 my apprentice at the time, John Eads, and I took off for a burn area in a forest. We were seeking a charred log for a new project.

We planted native plants on one we’d found, trying to imitate a “nurse log”. More about this regenerative forest process in the first post: Nurse Log Imagination: Hemlock, Huckleberry, and Salal


After composing, April 2020. Western Hemlock, Evergreen Huckleberry and Salal. Burn marks from a forest fire are on the left side and underneath.


In June, 2023. After three years of growth, the Hemlock and Salal have proven most vigorous. This shot is after a strong cutback. Moss has colonized much of the log, obscuring the burned areas.


A Salal shoot coming out of nowhere, evidence of the extensive, within-log rhizome structure of the plants. This shoot had a happy slug nibbling on it.

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  1. Ayla Baha says:

    Creative and beautiful Michael!

  2. James says:

    Is this a shade or semi shade tolerant composition?

    • crataegus says:

      Semi-shade, yes! All of these plants are deep understory species. I put it under shadecloth, and in the summer, even under a bench under the shadecloth.

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