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Public Gardens and Parks

Mill Pond with Town Hall and the Library in the background. Courtesy of James Shiang, Shiang Studios
 

The Challenges and Opportunities for Riverbank Restoration

By Reed Pugh and Miles Connors

Winchester, Massachusetts, is situated on the banks of a tranquil, winding river.  Like many waterways in New England, the Aberjona River has become home to many non-native and invasive plants that have largely overwhelmed our native plant palette. The Aberjona Initiative, a working group of the Conservation Commission, is tasked with restoring the river and pond banks in town center. 

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Landscape Brings Beauty and Dignity to Low-Income Housing

By Shanti Nagel and Meral Marino

Suppose you pop your head into the courtyard on 53rd street, a lush interior garden shared by 86 affordable housing units in Midtown Manhattan. In that case, you are likely to find Ursula parked in her wheelchair amidst the flowers and sunshine. When asked why this garden is so important to her, Ursula said, “It is a magic place!”

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Two bridges allow the main trail to hug the quarry edges—and visitors to see the fish swimming below.
 

The Quarry Gardens at Schuyler

By Cynthia Wood

In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Nelson County, Virginia, the Quarry Gardens at Schuyler offer a unique opportunity for nature lovers to learn about native plants and their ecosystems. Opened to the public in 2017, the Quarry Gardens occupy 40 acres within a 440-acre natural preserve, and support a vibrant diversity of species.

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The completed bioretention system at Wellesley’s Hunnewell Fields naturally and effectively captures stormwater runoff. 

Merging Nature-Based Solutions and Recreational Areas

By Leah Wallner

The Town of Wellesley makes updates to improve a girls’ softball field, mitigate stormwater runoff and create a habitat for wildlife. The field was bordered by a busy street, an aqueduct, a neighborhood, and mature trees which provided many landscape challenges.

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Huertos Accessibles Para Todos

By Rachel Lindsay

Un paisaje accesible debe ser fácil de acceder físicamente y también ofrecer experiencias variadas a todos los visitantes. Los diseñadores ecológicos llevan el concepto de diseño universal aún más lejos y consideran cómo el paisaje, especialmente los jardines públicos y participativos, pueden beneficiar no solo a personas de todas las capacidades, sino también a la vida silvestre, los polinizadores, los microorganismos del suelo y las cuencas hidrográficas.

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Callirhoe involucrata, known commonly as Wine Cups, is an excellent and very durable ground cover.
 

Nature’s Sanctuary

By Gregg Tepper

West Laurel Hill Cemetery, a level-II accredited arboretum located in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, features a unique space called “Nature’s Sanctuary.” This one-acre space, which previously served as the cemetery’s dumpsite, now uses a managed successional plan that will gradually transition from a sunny meadow to a meadow/woodland combination and, finally, a mature forest. This article focuses on the range of native plant species grown in this one-acre space and doing so with deer pressure.

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HMC Brookesville garden, alternate leaved dogwood, pagoda dogwoo 

What Is Rewilding?

by Heather McCargo and Anna Fialkoff

The term rewilding first appeared in the conservation world in the 1980s with a continental-scale vision to protect large tracts of wilderness and connect these areas with migration corridors. Maine’s Wild Seed Project considers rewilding to be not just for the large wilderness areas or charismatic megafauna like wolves. Instead, they focus on actions that people can take right outside their doors.

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The High Line in New York City, inspired by wildness, but very high maintenance.
 

Urban Wilderness and the “High Line Problem”

By Emma Marris

In October of 2013, I toured three miles of disused railroad line in Philadelphia.  The entire line was covered with spontaneous vegetation alive with butterflies and ladybugs. Here nature was showing us her resilience and her wild beauty and offering to meet us where most of us live now, in the city.  What is tricky about urban wildness is what I call the High Line Problem.

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 The sheet mulching project at Wellesley College taken 10 years after it was first installed to suppress turf grass June 2020 shows a thriving plant community.
 

Alexandra Botanic Gardens of Wellesley College: Sheet Mulching Update

By Tricia Diggins

Ten years ago I wrote an article about sheet mulching that highlighted a project in the Alexandra Botanic Gardens of Wellesley College. It was so interesting to revisit the project ten years later and to see if the sheet mulching solution stood the test of time and kept the turfgrass at bay. One of the unexpected benefits of smothering the turfgrass was that it allowed native plants to naturally form a thriving plant community.  

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 In this second year of growth, the Education Building begins to feel grounded in a verdant landscape. Photo by Jamie Purinton 
 

Let it Rain

by Jamie Purinton &  Marc Wolf

Mountain Top Arboretum was designed to mimic and compliment the wondrous native plant communities of New York’s Catskill Mountains. Habitats such as wet meadows and seeps, woodland edges, and bedrock alpine communities completely guided the style and content of the plantings and the stonework. Teamwork combining design, planting, stormwater management, and a focus on educating the public culminated in a landscape that can be resilient through all types of weather. 

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A blue heron in the wetlands as they appear today. Photo by Pam Morris Olshefski. 

Restoring the Wetlands of Morris Arboretum

by Eloise Gayer

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is well known for its abundance of mature trees and horticultural displays. In 2001 the Arboretum began the restoration of a drained wetland that would not only serve as a blueprint for other wetland restoration projects but also create more educational opportunities for the entire community. Learn about the history of this wetland, that was farmland at the turn of the century then one hundred years later was reverted back into a natural wetland.

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Phlox divaricata 

Celebrating Natives Garden Tour – Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary

Hosted by Dan Jaffe Wilder

Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary (NWS) is 8000 acres of forests, meadows, and wildlands, which is managed and maintain for the benefit of native plants and animals of New England. As the Sanctuary works on re-opening plans, a tour of the property is a wonderful respite from pandemic lockdown.

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