The photo below is an example of a naturally-occurring disease resistant American Elm. This particular Elm is growing in the rather unusual location of in a concrete bulkhead adjacent to the Potomac River in Old Town Alexandria. I can’t tell you the excitement I felt when I spotted it. More on the comeback of American Elms here.
After my weekly business networking meeting I headed over for a full day of landscape restoration on the grounds of The National Wildlife Foundation‘s headquarters in Reston, VA. Arriving early, I was met with an army of organizers and support already on site and raring to go. Clearly, a great number of people did an enormous amount of preparation work before this day, some of whom I will try to mention below. Several knowledgeable horticulturalists took the time to color-code
everything in the landscape: Pink stays put, Yellow gets yanked, Purple
stays but gets pruned back. Simple but very effective:
Below, Al Short of HPI gives us marching orders, while the lovely and talented NWF
Chief Photographer Susan McElhinney beams. The lady between them is
Julianne, I’m so sorry I didn’t get her last name but she was verve
personified, I really enjoyed meeting her as well. She worked like a dog and eradicated several nasty stands of Raspberry canes– bloody, hard work.
Looking down from the bridge, over a waterfall and the large pond far below:
While certainly beautiful, the Cattails are unwelcome as they quickly dominate and set up an aquatic monoculture– indeed one cannot even see the pond at all. Note the far end, where Al set up several very large portable water tanks to temporarily hold a portion of the pumped-out water, as well as create a holding space for any desirable aquatic plants which could be saved and replanted after cleanup. Below, looking the other way up the water feauture, one can see the view is totally obscured by more overgrowth of Salix and other less desirable plants:
For the entire day scores of volunteers, contractors, and designers pulled thousands of pounds of weedy biomass, all of which was placed in an onsite, 30 yd. rolloff container to be sent to Loudoun Composting for recycling (thank you to Loudoun Composting for donating their services as well!)
Above, a lovely underutilized native, Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum). Learn more about Boneset here.
One serious challenge we faced was an absolutely daunting crop of Chinese Lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata). Lespedeza is highly invasive and unfortunately was brought in when the original meadow seed was planted– illustrating the absolute importance of insisting on high quality, pure seed mixes when establishing meadow designs. This plant completely dominated the meadow. The only possible solution is eradication and replanting– I suggested soil solarization and a safe system of re-establishing the appropriate plant combinations in the spring of 2011. I’ll have more about this later, but it looks promising and I do hope to assist further in this area of the restoration.
Above, Chinese Lespedeza, close up and in context.
I’ll also have a ton of ‘after’ photos shortly– I became so filthy that holding my camera was just out of the question, so I’m relying on the excellent documentary work of Susan McElhinney, who covered everything from start to finish.
You are welcome! Thank you for letting me be a part! I look forward to more restoration work very soon.
Recently I was approached by Albert Short, President of Harmony Ponds in Fairfax, VA. Harmony Ponds is one of the premier water feature design/build/maintain firms in the Midatlantic region; Al’s projects include the fountains and other water features for the largest expansion to date of the Virginia Museum in Richmond, as well as the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, DC.
Al asked if I would be interested in donating some time & materials for a worthy cause: renovating the grounds of the National Wildlife Federation Headquarters in Reston, VA. Once a gorgeous and environmentally savvy landscape, it has fallen into a bit of dishabille: The towering and exciting waterfall, stream, and large pond are all almost completely obscured from view by volunteer trees and shrubs, as well as the designed native vegetation.
Heck yes! I will be there all day tomorrow, October 21st working the business end of a pair of loppers ( and tree spade, shovel, pole pruners, etc) and lending advice wherever it’s needed. It looks like we will have a small army of volunteers, both professionals like me as well as from the ranks of the NWF membership and donators. Should be fun!
This week in the garden:
Forest Pansy is a lovely red-leaved variety of our charming Redbud
The newly emerging leaves are like miniature versions of the fully matured leaves, apple green and thinner though…
One of my favorite Magnolias, the best yellow I think– not brassy at all and spectacular in conjunction with the still-closed Redbud flowers…
aka Korean Spicebush, this fragrance is staggering and can be enjoyed all over the garden. The still-closed flower buds have a charm all their own.
A somewhat rare, extremely corky-barked Chinese Elm, this one is destined for a bonsai pot this year.
Spectacular fall foliage, this delicate small tree is a real prize.
Almost fluorescent yellow leaves with red veination throughout the growing season
The Canadian Serviceberry is a wonderful native tree for any garden. The early spring flowering is followed by gorgeous metallic blue berries that taste wonderful (if you can steal them from every songbird in your region, who positively mug these trees when they’re fruiting)…