Friday, December 14, 2007

Reinventing the Lawn

Requiring compost-rich soil, mulch, and regular irrigation through the summer, cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) can provide excellent visual interest for a partly shady space where turf can be hard to grow. This photograph I took up at Garden in the Woods, but you should see the stand of ferns out front of the Dekalb branch of the Brooklyn Public Library where we have one of our GreenBranches learning gardens.

Back when I was a student at the New York Botanical Garden I had the opportunity to intern with a phenomenal organization up in Massachusetts called New England Wild Flower Society. Devoted to education and conservation of native plants, NEWFS is based in Framingham, MA, where they have a 45-acre native plant botanical garden called Garden in the Woods. If you ever get up to Boston, you must make a side trip to Framingham and find this hidden gem tucked within the suburban sprawl. As an intern with the horticulture department I was responsible for a number of different garden areas that I became very protective of. As any devout gardener can relate, over time the plants felt more like children and the gardens felt more and more like home. Both the horticulture and conservation departments do an unbelievable job educating people to the threat of invasives, how to combat them, the importance of native plants in the landscape, how to incorporate them, and how we can continue to support other such valiant efforts. I miss my friends up at New England Wild Flower Society and wish them all the best as they move forward with their own missions.

With that, I wanted to share with you an article I wrote some months ago. It addresses some alternatives to traditional lawn species, and ways in which we can convert some of our smaller turfed areas into more sustainable green spaces. It was recently posted to the New England Wild Flower website, but you can simply click on the link below and read away. Enjoy.

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