|Amy, a board member of Friends of High School Park showing off a new informational sign|
We began our tour in the meadows, escorted by one of the Friends' board members, Amy, a good friend of mine.
This actually was the second meadow installed on the site. The rubble from the building was covered with only a few inches of soil, so the calcareous debris sweetened the soil so much that the acid-loving native grasses and perennials that were planted on the site languished and were quickly overwhelmed by weeds and invasive plants. This time around, the Friends got a grant from the state to restore the meadow, and planned to do it "right," with soil amendments to make the soil more acidic, followed by a planting of native grasses, and then a planting, one year later, of native wildflowers. However, time constraints imposed by the state grant required the group to plant all of the plants together, which will not allow the grasses to get established before the wildflowers are added as the group had hoped. Unfortunately, I do not predict good things for this meadow.
|This meadow is not going to "cut the mustard"|
When we came to the mustard patch, I invited the student to pick a few leaves from the plants to see how they tasted (very sweet and a bit spicy). This completely freaked-out my students, who were sure that this was the last they would see of their instructor. I can almost always freak-out group when I'm giving a tour if I nibble a plant. Urbanized people are so divorced from the natural world that the thought of eating anything that doesn't come from the supermarket upsets them.
|Stopping to discuss the value of meadows as a source of bird food: insects and caterpillars|
|Some of the same meadow species, now up close and personal|
|Reviewing the plans for the demonstration garden|
|The Tookany Creek Trail bordered by highly invasive lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)|
|Siebold viburnum about to bloom|