Our guest blogger today is Marija Watson, an intern with the Horticulture department at the IMA.
Reflecting on the past four months, which has been a fantastic learning experience and undoubtedly great fun, brings a smile to my face.
Through my internship with the Horticulture Department, it was my task to design a wetland restoration project at the Lake Terrace area in the IMA’s 100 Acres: Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park. Before this project, the area was underutilized, had minimal native vegetation, and suffered from the aggressive nature of several invasive species.
So what did I do exactly? Let’s take a walk. Starting at the lake, several species of grasses and sedges have been planted, including two of my favorites: Carex emoryi (Riverbank Tussock Sedge), an excellent, adaptable sedge that thrives in wetland areas, even those that experience varying levels of water throughout the year and Juncus torreyi (Torrey’s Rush), a wonderful early successional species that will produce spike-shaped seedheads. Both species are rhizomatous in growth, which is ideal for a relatively quick establishment.
As you walk further away from the lake toward the new artwork Chop Stick, you will notice a grouping of Cephalanthus occidentalis (Buttonbush) and Glyercia striata (Fowl Manna Grass). Buttonbush, a hydrophilic shrub, produces an aggregate of white flowers that insects, especially butterflies and bees are certain to love. Also, the seeds are a good quality food source for waterfowl. Among the cool-season Carex spp., Fowl Manna Grass, a species that prefers shady, moist wetlands has been added near the drainage pipe.
Near the end of the swale, don’t miss out on Chasmanthium latifolium (Northern Sea Oats), a unique, warm-season grass that displays seedheads characteristic of oats. Look for the yellow-golden color of the leaves in the fall.
The species in the swale will function to filter stormwater runoff and recharge groundwater resources, imperative to conserving clean water. As the new plants establish, wildlife will benefit from the added cover, fruit, and flowers.
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Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Horticulture