Friends of the Wild Flower Garden
This year park board staff members requested that Friends volunteers focus on the buffer zone immediately surrounding the Garden rather than on areas within the Garden. The reasoning was twofold: our volunteer efforts, in combination with increased invasive plant control by staff members, have been largely successful in knocking back the Garden’s invasive plants; and the garden curator has more staff members this year to remove invasives from within the Garden.
We rose to the challenge and selected the west hillside overlooking the Garden as our starting point. The area has many high-quality native plants, including rue anemone, wood anemone, columbine, Solomon’s seal, false Solomon’s seal, ferns and cherry, pagoda dogwood and oak seedlings. It was recently cleared of large buckthorn by park workers but is still heavily infested with garlic mustard and buckthorn seedlings. Because it is uphill from the Garden, garlic mustard seeds enter the garden by gravity, wind, water and snow melt. Our goal is to clear all the areas uphill from the Garden of garlic mustard and other invasive plants, what I am calling our watershed approach..
The extent of the Garlic Mustard problem outside the fence at the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden can be seen in the two upper photos. Friends Board member and Invasives Committee co-chair Jim Proctor (at right in the photos) show here with a volunteer is standing amid some luxuriant growth of Garlic Mustard (photo below shows the plant). In the photo at right, after clearing the same area, the native plants are exposed and have room to grow. This removal occurred in May 2008.
Below, a group of volunteers begins to tackle the hillside near the west fence of the Garden. Progress is definitely being seen with areas noticeably cleared of Garlic Mustard.
In October 2008 more volunteers gathered to work on the other major invasive plant - Buckthorn. In late fall the plant still retains it's distinctive green leaves and is easily spotted. This is heavy work however as these three photos illustrate. The roots are thick and tough and can require some heavy duty pullers to get the big ones out.