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All photographs copyright by Mike Slater unless otherwise noted.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A beginning for a Native Plant Meadow in Union Twp., Berks County

Last year I began to work with Linda Ingram of the Union Township Recreation Board on the possibility of putting in native plants for wildlife on some of the property which the township owns near Birdsboro. (in the former desilting basin new where the new township building will be located ) So with the help of my wife Jan and a number of volunteers I began a program of native meadow/prairie plant seed collection (with permission) from a a number of public and private meadow areas. We were especially interested in seed sources of plants native to the mid-Atlantic area from nearby areas.

With an area which has been growing corn and soybeans for many years, we planned to start with an approx. 1/4 acre site we would be a demonstration area and seed increase plot. We planted the seed in one morning in late march, with the help of volunteers from the Union Township Rec. Board, Master Gardeners and a few other interested people. We mixed the relatively well purified seed of many different native wildflowers and grasses with damp builders sand in buckets and then the volunteers walked through the muddy ex cornfield to sow the seeds. Germination went well and many of the natives are growing and some are blooming. We did have a volunteer morning in June to pull ragweed, but we haven't done any other significant controlling of annual grasses or perennial. Maybe we should cut the annual foxtail, barnyard and panic grasses before they go to seed yet this month.

After we pulled the ragweed people helped plant about 150 native perennials th we had grown in 2 in. pots in the corner areas where we didn't plant seed because we weren't sure of how large an area we could plant at this time.

The accompanying pictures were taken from March 2007 through august 2007 at the meadow. All of the flower pictures of of plants which are blooming from the seed we sowed in March 2007. I will report on "weeds" and good volunteers in my next meadow reoprt

Bouteloua curtipendula
, Side-oats grama grass, is a rare grass in PA where it is fould mainly on Serpentine Barrens and Limestone barrens.

Helianthus giganteus
, Tall sunflower

Eupatorium coelistinum
, Wild ageratum, Blue-mist Flower

Cirsium discolor
, Field Thistle (a good native thistle!)

Helenium autumnale
, Sneezeweed

Boltonia asteroides
, this has no good common name as I disike names like "Aster-like Boltonia"

Verbena hastat
, Blue Vervain

Andropogon girardii
, Big Blue Stem

Sorgastrum nutans
, Indian Grass

Monarda fistulosa
, Lavender Beebalm seedling

Coreopsis tripteris
, Tall coreopsis

Rudbeckia sp.
, Brown-eyed Susan

Ruellia humlis
, Wild petunia, A plant native to dry areas in the Central Appalachians, but which can spread vigorously in gardens, so I thought I would put in some seed even though it will be likely crowded out by taller plants over time.

Pluchea odorata
, Marsh fleabane, is a plant which is no longer found naturally in PA, it used to be found along the lower Delaware River. Now it only shows up in nurseries where salt-marsh hay is used as a mulch. Whichc is where my seed came from. Since we had such a big wet spot i thought this annual might be a good temporary filler!

Soligago nemoralis
, Gray-stemmed goldenrod is one of my favorite goldenrods.

Heliopsis helianthoides
, Ox-eye

Mimulus ringens, Allegheny monkey flower, another nice native wetland plant

Vernonia noveborascensis
, New-york ironweed

1 comment:

JoEllen Jones said...

Mike, thank you and all the volenteers for your hard work. We appreciate it here in Union Township
Municipal Assistant