Friday, February 27, 2009
Don't the Taxodiums look nice with the Flowering Tree Walk arcing between them and their bases free of weeds?
If I had a "before" picture of these three wonderful Taxodiums from say a year and a half ago, I wouldn't have to use all these words to make a case that we are doing some good things at the Arboretum.
First off, Taxodiums are beautiful trees and these stand as points of a nicely proportioned scalene triangle. Someone did a good job choosing plant material and siting it. That happened a while ago; none of us can take credit for it. However, many of us, more than a dozen by my calculations, can take credit for the condition of the site and the surrounding area.
Last spring bush honeysuckle plants grew thickly under the leftmost tree and more sparsely under the others. Ampelopsis vines used the honeysuckles as scaffolding to reach the lower branches of the trees and begin their own climb. Seedling Callery Pears up to 9 ' tall, were spotted throughout the perimeter of the planting and dozens of blackberry bushes made it difficult even to approach the trees. Poison Ivy covered the ground under and around the two righthand specimens. The areas outside the perimeter of the trees were a bit better, but still included many inappropriate seedling trees and shrubs, Japanese Honeysuckle, Porcelain-Berry, Oriental Bittersweet, and other undesirables.
A variety of projects solved these problems. The paved walkway is the current terminus of the Flowering Tree Walk. I like the sinuous route it takes. The contractor managed to get it installed with a minimum amount of collateral damage. Then our projects began. Several people raked out rocks, added topsoil, and graded the disturbed ground directly beside the walk. Other people seeded, strawed, and kept the young turf watered through a 6 week drought last summer. Another project had a team of us applying herbicide to the woody plants all through the ellipse. Joan and I both sprayed the poison ivy and other weed plants under the Taxodiums; I think we each did this twice. Pat mowed the area for the dedication of Dr. Cathy's memorial bench and Franklinia. Ed is in the process of bush hogging the entire ellipse.
Here's the thing: if you hadn't paid close attention to just how unkempt that area was, you wouldn't realize how wonderful it is that it looks the way it does now. We are slowly but steadily making inroads into many areas that have, over the years, fallen victim to decreased staffing. There have been others addressed this winter: project teams have largely groomed the overgrown edge of Beech Spring Pond just this past month, and driven by Lynn Batdorf's determination, roadsides are being pruned and cleaned up. Wow.
Posted by ChrisU at 1:25 PM