Covington Nature Park progress on controlled burns, complete/ natural succession to take place soon!

After about a year of diligent work, we (the Board of Directors of Keep Covington Beautiful) have received approval for the final stage of preparation for the much-anticipated controlled burn to be executed at Blue Creek Swamp (Bog) Nature Park in Covington, Louisiana. This work locks-in controlled burns for managing the Park, which will exhibit natural succession and the landscape it creates. Its was a tall order but our team got it done, with the help of a lot of people along the way. Thanks all and Yay! Team!!!!

Our first step in the process was to get the Mayor’s okay. He jumped in with two feet! Then it was on to Maintenance Department and then the City Engineer, who requested we coordinate with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers (that took some wrangling, ugh). Then on to the City Engineer again and then to the Fire Department, who took it back to the Mayor and Voila!!! We are ready, now, to burn that sucker!!!!!

We have, existing in the Park, lots of wonderful wetland-bog componants that just need a little nudge via fire to explode with biodiversity. This burn will happen in the next week or so, weather permitting. Thanks to all who have helped in developing this landscape design for the general public to enjoy and utilize in perpetuity. Fire-driven landscapes rock!!!!

Hot Far Out Thar

I had the great pleasure of working with noted landscape architect John Mayronne yesterday. We did a burn at one of his clients’ property. Best part of that was I got to work with and meet one of his brothers, Tommy and his sister Ann. That was big fun!

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above, left to right, me, master-plantsman Johnny Mayronne, his brother Tommy and sister Ann, sweating to the oldies! The temps were in the mid-90’s with 60+% humidity and almost not a breeze in the air. That’s hot ya’ll, especially when you add fire!

John and I go back 25 years, when I met him at the first-ever native plant (Cullowhee Conference) spin-off conference in 1990, in New Orleans (The inaugural Mid-South Native Plant Conference). John spearheaded the organization of the conference, held at Tulane University that summer. I quickly became an big admirer of John and his working knowledge and he welcomed me with open arms as a friend and fellow native plant buff. He is one of the leading experts on native Rhododendrons of the southeast, among other things. And he is a super-duper sensitive landscape designer who is particularly knowledgeable in native habitats and the plants that are in them. Most importantly, John is a fun guy, always wearing a big smile.

We got a slow start to the burn since we had not much of a breeze to carry the fire. Eventually I took the little wind we had and threw a head-fire onto the field, which finally provided a really good and solid burn.

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Tommy Mayronne stands way in the distance, on the far left of the image, as fire progressively moves across the Chasez meadow in Robert Louisiana. (click on the photo to enlarge) This is the first burn for the meadow in maybe fifty years. It will dramatically increase biodiversity that is already relatively rich, triggering growth of long-dormant pyrogenic species that were desperately waiting for us to come along.

Covington Police Department pollinator garden being designed

One of the other projects we are working on in Covington through the KCB Board is the new pollinator garden at the Police station. The Police station grounds are a focal point for the community since each week, the Covington Farmer’s market is held in the north end of the property. So it was a natural to incorporate a cool garden via John Mayronne’s design with the assistance of Landscape Architect and KCB director, Priscilla Floca , and other Board members, naturalist and garden geek, Charlotte Seidenberg and Skip Miller, plant lover.

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We plan to delete all of the existing garbage “landscaping” and put in a large garden of super-cool cutting-edge hummingbird and pollinator plants; a garden with pizazz!!!!! Lots of native and bold colorful plants that are particularly beautiful and wildlife friendly.

Pollinator Garden proposed

above, conceptual garden design as conceived by John Mayronne and drawn by Priscilla Floca. In red, on the outside flanks are singular plants of the most-incredible Hybrid Coral Bean, Erythrinia herbacea X Crista Galli, a sterile (so always flowering) Coral Bean hybrid cross. The garden will bring an experience, far too uncommon. It’ll be a garden all will be able to enjoy in such a high profile public space. It will be contract managed by a professional/ able gardener. We have some candidates in mind.

went to the farm! Yippie!!!!!

see the video I posted to YouTube, a thrity second clip of bees and native wasps working a small patch of native mint, Pycnanthemum muticum, Lowland Mountain Mint, at the Farm last week. Pyc Mut a great plant for restoration but I wouldn’t advise putting it in your Mother’s garden, that is unless you don’t like your Mother! It is a highly aggressive plant and will run you over like a drunk in a pick-up truck, so be careful with it, like you would a loaded pistol. For restorations only, ya’ll. 🙂  Interesting thing about this super able plant, it succumbs to competition pressure from other prairie plants and in time almost disappears from the prairie landscape. That’s how aggressively dominant prairie is.

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