Since we’ve had remarkable success our previous updates have been pretty simple, straight-line progress reports on the gregg’s gardens project, but with anything this complex a bump-in-the-road was bound to happen eventually and we’ve just had one.
So while there is nothing to worry about as we have already put a very good Plan B in action, we have so many supporters in this grand adventure that it is very important to be 100% transparent about everything we do. So, here’s the update:
The false early spring and weird weather that came with it delayed the application of the herbicide on the vacant lots until May 18th — a little later than we originally planned. If you’ve been by the lots you know it is working, as they are very dry and yellow now, but on May 30th, Catherine Zimmerman, a noted author of books and videos on wildflowers and a certified horticulturist and landscape designer visited Warren and toured the future garden sites. She told us that in her opinion most of the lots need an additional herbicide application and more time to let it do its work. (Even the weeds are tough in this town.)
We also consulted with our contractor, David Riddell, from the Resource Group of the Davey Tree Expert Company. Dave is a biologist with extensive experience working with wildflowers and native grasses. He agreed with Catherine that the lots would benefit greatly from an additional herbicide application. Both experts emphasized that weeds are the biggest threat to establishing great wildflower gardens and that if we kill them all off now and give the wildflowers seeds an even start they will out-compete the weeds.
So in the interest of the long-term success of the gardens we are applying more herbicide next week; however we need to allow it at least a few weeks to do its job, which takes us into mid-July when it will be too hot to plant. Fortunately that does not mean we have to wait until next spring as wildflowers do very well when planted in the autumn – in fact there are some advantages to waiting until the cooler weather returns.
But as I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, that means no flowers this spring on most of the lots. Most, but not all.
Our “demonstration garden” located at the corner of Elm and Atlantic across from Warren G. Harding High School will be a very visible exception. Because of a grant we won and because of the cooperation we received from the WGH graduating classes of 1967, 1968 and 1969 we will be able to plant that most visible garden later this month using “plugs” (baby plants) rather than simply seeding them as we will do with the other gardens.
This will give the Elm & Atlantic garden a big, bold start, and to ensure success, Davey is providing their hands-on care of that garden for the next year as a special “value-added” service to the community. This should result in something very special there. We will keep you posted on the planting date.
These changes haven’t been that expensive but they were not expected. The extra herbicide application will cost about $150 per lot or a total of about $3000. Fortunately we are blessed with a great roster of sponsors and, once again, one of them saved the day.
Do you remember Mr. A? He made a very generous donation early in the project and asked that he remain anonymous. Mr. A has now given us his blessing to use his donation to pay for the added weed-killing, and while this will result in a fewer gardens in phase one of the project it also means better quality and longevity for the ones we create.
Most people would agree that it is more important to create 20 really good gardens than 25 that do not impress.
All 20 Atlantic Street lots targeted in phase one will still be turned into wildflower gardens and we expect them to outlive the grass, weeds, dandelions, thistle, and various and sundry other unattractive vegetation they are replacing by decades.
We regret that this means we will have to look at yellowed, dried-up straw in these lots this summer, but we believe strongly that the long term benefits will be worth it.
This is the (probably too long) story as best as I can tell it but if you have more questions please don’t hesitate to ask them either in the comment section below or by email to: info@warrenexpressed.
Thanks for your support and understanding.