Ducked in to check on the fine fuel meadows at Chapapeela Park today while in the Hammond area and was delighted to see the array of wildness there in all its glory. Of course the maintenance crew has insulted it quite nicely with herbicide spraying, but other than that, its looking pretty dashing for a less-than-two-year-old planting. Its amazing what the eradication of weeds on-site before planting does to jump start a meadow. I learned this concept the hard way. When I planted my fields in Mississippi 15 years ago, I didn’t do much in the way of prep only because we were only at the cusp of discovery back then and we didn’t know diddly. Through trial and error (plenty of error), we garnered some knowledge of how to speed-up the prairie process. This Chapapeela/ Hammond project directly lead to the City of Mandeville project, which we are currently doing prep work for with seeding to be done in November. The Mandeville project was designed by the same Landscape Architect and we’ve been working on it now for several months, polishing it up. Its about an acre or so of land in a very public and high-profile position, at a major intersection on highway 190. Sweet!
above is a photograph I took at Chapapeela today. The meadow, folks, is amazing in its diversity. I think its astonishingly beautiful. Notice how the maintenance crew has sprayed all of the best part away with round-up. I had collected Indian grass seed, had it propagated and grown off, then painstakingly planted those delectable plants all along the edge of the walking trail so that eventually the lowest possible plant would abut the walkway, and they have twice killed it all off. duh. A knucklehead is born every minute, ya’ll! :).
I met last week with Professor Jim, who teaches at ULL and happens to be one of the nicest guy on the planet. Good thing HE is teaching plant science, etc. Anyway, we had lunch and during our extended discussion, one of his students, Jennie, dropped in for an off-the-cuff consult on a project she is working on. The project is one I have visited on-site before, a large piece of property in the Lafayette area. We talked about processes and details, etc. As usual, the subject of using herbicides came up as a means of preparation. Yea, I know, if you are doing like natural landscaping, you shouldn’t need to use herbicides because they are bad for the environment. Right? WRONG! I suspect when there are no more wars and everybody loves one another and we all strive for serenity, we won’t need herbicides anymore. Only then. The fact is we have screwed up our Earth so badly in most of this part of the world, that trying to restore most landscapes ecologically means eradication of noxious weedy stuff. I think this is a good trade off. A few applications to help produce amazing diversity and substance in a feeble effort to save the Monarchs and other of God’s critters so that maybe our grandkids will have some wild things to experience and appreciate. Some spraying to totally heal a part of the earth forever. Not too shabby.
High Society Field Trip
I hope to see you at Ouida Plantation in St. Francisville Saturday for the Native Plant Society field trip hosted by Dave and Tracey Banowetz. I first did a small landscape for Dave and Tracey many years ago, about 1997-98, when they were in Baton Rouge. Bill Fontenot, the expert Bird-attraction-garden designer(see Nature Dude), had given them my name and we executed some cool work with herbs in stones an stuff. That was then.
Dave and Tracey moved to the country and started some work on a new and larger garden, converting an old pasture to awesome pasture. Back when they started, they were buying seed from the Cajun Prairie Society via Charles Allen (the grass dude). When the seed sales went from the Society to me, they purchased a few times from me and so they’ve added lots of seed over the years. This is a good approach, by the way. Keep adding seed and keep getting more of the good stuff. Its a pretty nice prairie restore these days. I saw it last year for the first time. They’ve been nurturing it by way of fire. Nice work, ya’ll!
John Mayronne, of Covington and Rick Webb of Amite, two leading figures in this region when it comes to designing with woody plants in general but native in particular, will be the experts leading the morning field trip at Ouida and Charles Allen and myself (lil’ old me) with do the prairie part of the day, after lunch. It should be fun and informative so come visit! I’ll see you there, maybe.
Johnny Mayronne (so shy and reserved) and my ugly mug at a client’s crayfish boil with the Hot 8 Brass Band in background, last spring. Its a shame we weren’t having fun that day.
for more on this go to the link, http://www.lnps.org/index_files/TripsandEvents.htm and click on Sept 20 Ouida Plantation field trip peace-out