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Friends of the Wild Flower Garden

Storm Damage in the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in June and July 2010.

A severe rain storm on the night of June 25th, 2010 caused a lot of damage to the mulch layer on paths in the Garden as well as water logging the path through the bog. By July 3rd, Garden Curator Susan Wilkins had repaired much of the damage to the paths. The eighty foot elevation difference between the bog and the Upland Garden area results in some steep grades on some of the Garden paths making them prone to rain washout. Having a mulch cover on the paths results in a fine walking surface, but the mulch cover takes the brunt of heavy rain runoff but while doing so, the underlying gravel and soil is mostly undisturbed. Replacing the mulch is much easier than replacing the actual bed of the pathways.

Garden curators have struggled with this since the beginning. Martha Crone used pea gravel on the paths. Ken Avery abandoned that because the rain always washed it to the bottom of the grades making a laborious job of hauling it back into place. He switched to shredded elm bark (which was plentiful in that era of Dutch Elm disease), but it was so light weight that it would float away in a rain. It did however provide a soft surface to walk on and did eliminate some of the underlying path erosion from a heavy rain. When Cary George became Gardener, he found a source for cedar shavings, which are still used today. Not only do they provide a nice path surface, with cedar aroma, but the fineness of the texture will absorb a certain amount of rainfall without washing out. It takes a strong storm like the one on June 25th to actually move the shavings downhill.

Below: 1st photo - Washout on the Woodland path. 2nd photo - The path at the front gate. 3rd photo - path restored.

Rain Damage to Garden Path Storm Rain damage to Garden Path Paths repaired after storm

Below: 1st photo - Damage on the path from the front gate down to the shelter. 2nd photo - All repaired.

Garden Path Storm Damage Path damage repaired

More damage to the Garden occurred during the week of July 18th when heavy winds brought down several mature trees on the Westside path in the Woodland. Over the last ten years a number of older trees in this area have succumbed to strong winds.

Trees down in Storm Storm debris from July Storm