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Public Gardens and Parks

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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June brings smooth-leaved penstemon into flower, making the garden alive with bumblebees.
 

Celebrating Natives Garden Tour – Dennis, MA

Hosted by Kristin Andres

Take a walk on the wild side of Cape Cod. Located in Dennis, MA  the Association to Preserve Cape Cod has built a wonderful garden to show residents of Cape Cod how beautiful and easy it is to plant and maintain a native garden. With veggie demonstration gardens and rain gardens, there really is a garden solution for every obstacle a gardener might face.

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Celebrating Natives Garden Tour – Needham, MA

Hosted by Marie Chieppo

Avery Park, a busy commuter rail station park becomes a native plant oasis for people and pollinators alike. Follow Needham based landscape designer Marie Chieppo’s journey through a barren weed-infested plot to a popular garden gathering spot that is doing double duty during the COVID pandemic as a great place to socialize while staying six feet apart.

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Discovering Garden Gems

Public and private gardens are a source of beauty and inspiration any time of year, but especially in the full bloom of summer. That’s also the time many of us travel to unfamiliar locales for graduation parties, weddings, and family reunions. During your travels, consider scheduling an excursion to a local garden.

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