Sunday, March 29, 2009

Plant Rescue

We had spectacular planting weather today (cool and drizzly), so I took the opportunity to rescue four native evergreen species that were located in the new Eklund bypass trail that was raked out yesterday: Spotted Pipsisswa, Round-Leaved Pyrola, Partridgeberry, and Tree Clubmoss. I moved them all to a location in the garden that already had some pipsisswa naturally growing in it, hoping the pipsisswa indicated conditions in that part of the garden were right (shady and apparently pretty damp since everything is covered with moss). Only time will tell. The tree clubmoss is notoriously difficult to grow, but I had a patch of partridgeberry growing in my front yard for several years until one day the pachysandra devoured it. See some more pictures of what I transplanted.

Here's the new bypass trail, built on an old drive. It's a very attractive walk, and the pond is now filled with breeding wood frogs, spring peepers, and spotted salamanders.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Before & After

We had an enormous crew out this morning thanks to the Trails Committee volunteers. In the photo left to right are Kelly, Ryan, Richard, Teresa, Lynn, Joe, Peter, Jim and Bill. Not shown are Terry, Bridget, Diane, and Sheri. Wow! The bypass trail is complete; the garden is raked out; the deer fence installation is partially complete (and looks great); a truckload of junk was hauled out of the garden; some rocks were moved; a compost station was begun; the drive and walks were blown free of leaves; and some logs and mountain laurel were removed with a chain saw. Holy Mackeral!! Thank you everyone who helped out!! Here are some more pictures of our work party.

Here's what the garden looks like now.

And here's the same view last summer. Trust me, it is in fact the same view (see the ledge walk in the foreground, with the step in the center of the photo? They're the same in both photos.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Things are getting frantic...

The race is on! I'd like to get the $2500 worth of perennials planted in late April or early May so everything has to get done NOW. I'll be setting up an email list for work parties. If you would like be on that please email me at Sunday afternoons at 1:00 pm look like they will be our normal work times, but over the next month I expect to be out there much more frequently.

Deerfence: I managed to get the funding arranged (out of Conservation's budget, miraculously approved by the Mayor) and picked up the materials for a deer fence last week. Unfortunately, the Boy Scout organization won't approve installation as an Eagle Scout project because it needs to be done so quickly. Looks like I may be installing most of the fence with the help of my teenage son. I'll still need help for the gates, however.

Bypass Trail: I cleared most of the bypass trail yesterday and have asked the Trails Committee for assistance in finishing that up. I wanted to clear that out before the fence went in so deer and bikers can get used to it being there. The pond looks like it's a vernal pool, and there were tons of wood frogs "quacking" away while I was working up in the garden.

Raking: I've also been raking. This is heavy raking, since I'm removing possibly decades of accumulated debris. Next year should be easier.

Brushpile: There's one heck of a brush pile that needs chipping! I'm thinking the chips could be spread on the trail from Oak Valley Road to the garden.

Driveway: The driveway into the site has also been cleared and I've spoken with Dean (Parks & Rec) about removing the boulder and cable blocking the entrance and replacing that with a chain and padlock. The driveway will allow access for a woodchipper and deliveries.

Existing Plants: Some of the plants suffered from frost heave and I replanted those. We may have already lost some to the deer. The bearberry and crowberry were definitely nibbled on.

New Plants: Per City charter, I need to receive 3 quotes for the plants. Not sure how that will work out for something like Native Species, but we shall find out.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tree Removal

Today my husband Terry and I worked on removing some small trees along the top of the garden, as well as this dead paper birch. It was so warm we got overheated! We'll have to go back to finish up due to chain saw troubles. I also cleared out the old driveway so it can be used for deliveries. Parks & Rec is planning to remove the boulder at the end of the driveway and install a chain with padlock, so we can remove it when necessary.
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Deer Fence Plan

Here's the design for installing a deer fence and creating a new bypass trail for people who don't want to have to enter the deer fence just to walk down the trail. The bypass trail is very nice and follows an old driveway down by the pond. The deer fence length is 850 to 900 ft, enclosing about one acre, and several gates will need to be installed. Why so big? I don't want the fence to obvious while you're viewing the garden, for starters. And the beds are really sprawled across the site. Finally, to kill two birds with one stone, I'd like this to double as a demonstration deer exclosure for educational purposes (so people can graphically see how much the deer eat) and to serve as an island of biodiversity while our deer population strips the forests. I've been told that the plastic c-flex fencing is what is commonly used, about 7 feet high, with wire running along the top and the bottom for strength.

Anyone know of a Scout looking for a good project?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A New Beginning

In January we received a $2500 grant from the Iroquois Company to stock the garden. WhooHoo!! Before then I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how we were going to fill up all this space. The more we cleared, the bigger the gardens got. I had no idea there were so many beds when I started. You couldn't see them since they were covered with forsythia, grape vines, and that evil black swallowwort.

At any rate, we are definitely in business with this grant. I am now working on a plan to enclose the garden with deer fence BEFORE we do our planting in May. A recent DEP fly aerial survey showed 48 deer per square mile in our area. That's about five times more deer than there should be. As the deer denude the forest, they'll be eating our gardens more and more, so that fence is critical.