Last fall, you may remember, we received a gift that allowed us to work with our landscaper on re-doing the garden on Vestal Street in front of the Maria Mitchell Vestal Street Observatory. I wrote a blog about it and then filled you in this spring on some of the planting.
Well, it needs some more work – onion grass is a BEAST to pull out – but we are getting there! I’m happy to say that the mallow transplanted well, as did the Joe Pye Weed, and the Milkweed is popping up in all its random places. I have also weeded out and planted some natives along the accessibility ramp at Hinchman House Natural Science Museum. One will find regular garden plants mixed in – they are nice to still have and offer food to some of the visiting animals. And along Mitchell House, I focus on heirloom plants, what was in William Mitchell’s garden and the other Mitchell family members who inhabited the House, and plants that were found in gardens in the nineteenth century.
I have installed plant tags to help identify the plants and I have two bigger garden signs that I created and are currently being fabricated (ah, the Internet). They will be very small, printed signs on bamboo plaques but they will note why our gardens look a little messy.
We do want the milkweed – it’s a happy host to milkweed beetles and even more importantly to monarchs which are fast losing their habitat – in fact it’s gone in many places. We used to have thousands of monarchs every year on Vestal – not anymore. We are lucky if we see a few dozen. So, a wildflower and native species garden – as it has been for decades and decades in that same spot – is very important for the bird, insect, and mammalian life that needs it and also supports the MMA’s mission – just look to our Hinchman House Natural Science Museum and Department and you understand.
So come take a look, and cheer on some of our teeny, tiny seedlings as they grow. Feel free to pull the onion grass – but leave everything else! But oh – you can chase the bunnies away – they are back and eating everything including all my Morning Glories and they have just about taken down two gallon-sized cardinal flower plants!