Diario del proyecto WillowRidge Community Greenbelt Restoration

18 de marzo de 2023

March 18 2023!

I would say happy spring but it doesn't feel much like spring this season. We have been witness to the impact of climate with wild swings from bitterly cold to unseasonably warm temperatures and heavy rains replacing winter snows - and forecasts for summer drought. These trends renew my sense of urgency to move this process along. I am encouraged by the changes that I see at my bird feeders with more diverse populations of sparrows, woodpecker and even the first blue birds that I have seen take up residence in the Greenspace. It suggests that my efforts are helping and should continue!

It's been a long time since I updated my journal entries on progress in the Greenbelt project. My work continues with more emphasis on protecting what has already been planted and remediation of invasive honeysuckle and garlic mustard. I have worked to increase the number of perennial species including native honeysuckle vine, passion flower, native roses, native sage. It looks like the American plum that was planted during the pandemic may finally bloom this year - huge step forward in progress.

I have a limited selection of MDC seedlings this year.

Burr Oak (10)
Shumard oak (10)
Eastern Wahoo (10)

  • planted on St Paddies day

I have 25 Missouri fringetree set to go in this weekend if we can sustain temperature above freezing!

Posted on 18 de marzo de 2023 by ann223 ann223 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de marzo de 2022

Spring breaks!

3/20/2022

A gorgeous first day of spring in Kansas! Sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s. I am still hobbled by my foot recovery but I was able to get out into the greenbelt and complete the planting for the Kansas Forestry Service order of 25 spicebush (Lindera benzoin). They were planted mainly on the north but also some on the south side of the canal near the center of the path behind the plum and among the Ohio buckeye planted last spring (doing amazingly well I might add!). This is a nice moist and shaded area where the root system will hopefully stabilize the slopes and reduce erosion. I have found that plantings fare better when grouped together as opposed to dispersed throughout the canopy. The bees and butterfly will also have easier access to the breadth of pollen and nectar sources without having to travel great distances searching.

The spring growth is just now emerging and it is too early to tell if my efforts will be rewarded with fresh blossoms. This is the third season for the pandemic plantings - particularly plum and golden current and I have great hopes that they will begin to take off. I will be monitoring progress and continuing to add perennials as the season progresses to build this ecosystem for local wildlife.

Posted on 21 de marzo de 2022 by ann223 ann223 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de marzo de 2022

Gorgeous spring-like day

3/16/2022

It was a gorgeous spring-like day in Kansas with unseasonably warm 77 degree temperatures. I received the Kansas Forest Service shipment of 25 serviceberry and 25 spicebush seedlings yesterday and took advantage of the circumstances to get the serviceberry into the ground ahead of the pending storm forecast to arrive late on St. Patty's day. I was still hobbled by my bad foot so I was content to complete one batch of the seedlings. The spice bush should be fine to wait until the weekend for planting in the much softer and shadier midline of the patch. The serviceberry were planted along the perimeter in small clusters and around the east and south end flanking the small community playground. I want to make sure the neighbors on both sides of the greenbelt benefit from the spring colors!

Kansas Forest Service
25 Spicebush
25 Serviceberry

Posted on 16 de marzo de 2022 by ann223 ann223 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

14 de marzo de 2022

2022 Spring planting begins!

March 13, 2022

The first of two shipments of seedlings for the project arrived Wednesday, March 9th in advance of a significant snowfall which shutdown the town and planting for the week. But in true Kansas fashion, the sun came out on Sunday melting the snow with temperatures in the 60's. Perfect day for planting. I employed the assistance of a friend, Greg Williams, to man the dibble since I am still recovering from significant foot surgery in January. The new dibble worked wonderfully and we made quick work of the project.

The shipment was the one and only this year from Missouri Department of Conservation and included:
10 Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
10 Button bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
10 Vernal Witchhazel (Hamamelis vernalis)
10 Paw paw (Asimina triloba)
10 Rose mallow (Hibiscus lasiocarpos, I think)

The fringe trees were mainly planted on the west end in the shady wet space behind my house. Three were saved for the east end on the south side of the path where neighbor Len had fashioned a stone canal for runoff. The button bush lined that space as well along with 3 of the witchhazel. The Paw Paw were all planted together in the woods along the main path on the south side of the canal. The other witchhazel were planted in two clusters of 3 and 4 along the walking path. The rose mallow were distributed along the walking path. I had distributed seeds from native hibiscus obtained from the Pollinator Prairie last fall so hopefully we get some success and blooms!

The next major planting will occur next weekend from the Kansas Forestry Department shipment of 25 Spicebush and 25 serviceberry! Exciting indeed. I am looking forward to getting out after being cooped up for a long winter of convalescence.

Posted on 14 de marzo de 2022 by ann223 ann223 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de octubre de 2021

Fall Clean-up!

Entry 10/21/2021

It's been a great summer in Kansas and the WillowRidge greenbelt. Our expanding community - including residents of the nearby Connect55+ apartment complex has enjoyed this revitalized natural resource. The landscape is still a little rough and wild. I let the ragweed and pokeweed get a ahead of me in the heat of the summer and will work to better control them in the future to reserve space for more beneficial and threatened species to emerge and to keep the area more aesthetically appealing for the community. My efforts to control the Johnson grass were remarkably effective. It's relatively easy to remove by hand-pulling in the early wet spring months which really reduced its presence along the perimeter. I've been able to document the presence of more of native plant and insect species, some plants that I re-introduced have taken root and others have emerged from the natural seed bed. I was excited to identify existing black walnut trees within the space! They appear to be too young to fruit but their mere existence is exciting. I will take steps to protect them in the future.

Fall clean-up has commenced over the past couple of weekends - cutting back ragweed/pokeweed; pruning and treating mulberry, hackberry and locust along the perimeter of the walking path. The fall honeysuckle eradication project was re-initiated 10/16/2021. I was able to bushwhack into the southeast corner of the walking path which exits east toward Horizon elementary and prune back and treat a couple of very large bushes (small trees really) that have annoyed me for years. They were more than my little 4-inch electric saw could handle on it's own, but I was able to de-branch them to their trunks. That should knock them back to something manageable. I also cleared and treated some heavy vines which are probably also honeysuckle. The invasion in this area was extensive and will probably require additional treatments. I also cleared the northeast corner across the walking path to free up space for perennial plantings and a feature bush or two down the road.

I will be hitting the honeysuckle hard over the next couple of weekends to reclaim more territory from this evil invader. I also planted 3 wild hydrangea Saturday (10/16/2021) - two on the east end and one on the west along the path behind my house. Most of the seedlings planted over the past two seasons have taken root (I'm getting better at this game). The redbuds and prunus species are gaining size and presence. I am hoping all of my efforts will begin to pay dividends with spring color from the many trees, shrubs and perennials planted these past few years.

Peace

Posted on 21 de octubre de 2021 by ann223 ann223 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de junio de 2021

Memorial Weekend - last dash for planting

May 31, 2021. Last Wednesday I received an exciting care package from Prairie Nursery. My Mondo shipment of perennials purchased from the HOA funds has arrived at last!

Virginia Waterleaf (20 count)
Golden groundsel (32 count)
Wild blue phlox (20 count)
Common milkweed (11 count)
Wild strawberry (20 count)

The timing could not be better....the Memorial Day weekend was temperate and mostly sunny - the perfect conditions for planting and the weather forecast rain off and on through Tuesday to water them in. It was probably the last viable opportunity for mass planting before the summer heat kicks in (next weekend is forecast to be in the upper 80's). It is exceedingly lucky to have such ideal conditions at this point in the season.

I planted the milkweed on Saturday afternoon along the south face of the greenbelt bordering the walking path. Five on the west end and the remaining six towards the center. My hope is to establish colonies along the length of the sunny section of the walkway. The rest of the shipment was planted Sunday morning with the help of my friend, neighbor and trusty side-kick Pam Barry. The waterleaf was planted in a small clearing on the east end, set-back in the shade. The packera and phlox were planted nearer to the sidewalk flanking the chokecherry patch. The wild strawberry were planted on the east end on the south face in front of the little stream...just east of the redbud and roughleaf dogwood patch. MycoBloom was applied to some of the waterleaf plantings and all of the milkweed.

After the planting Sunday morning, I carried out some other chores grooming the overgrown turf grass missed by the landscape company and pulled a section of invasive Johnson grass and periwinkle on the west end by the Chokeberry bushes. Additional MycoBloom was injected into the soil on the west end in an effort to jump start some perennial growth. The coreopsis was blooming along with some remnants of downy phlox that self-seeded from my garden. I'm still looking for native blooms but it seems everything is off from the drizzly cold weather of late. All of the plantings were doing well, simmering in their sauce hopefully waiting for the summer heat to bust out.

In addition to this work, I also acquired a single columbine plant from the Westlake Ace Hardware store in Parkville, MO - where I hosted my first ever native plant workshop Saturday morning (Woot woot!). I have been concerned for some time over the appearance of columbine in the Greenbelt that has apparently self-seeded over from my neighbors yard. My old neighbor - who has long since moved away had a certain love of columbine and planted many cultivated species. All of these species have somehow morphed over the years into a burgundy red strain that may or may not be the native. I wanted a verified native columbine for comparison to decide if this rapidly spreading invader was the real deal or a potential problem. I have seen bees nectering on the invader so it does appear to support life. I will monitor these comparable species next spring to determine if the invaders needs to be maced.

But for now the stage is set for summer. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Posted on 01 de junio de 2021 by ann223 ann223 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de mayo de 2021

Acquired plants

May 10, 2021. I volunteered at Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary Saturday morning as part of my service to the Missouri Master Gardeners of the Greater KC and I was able to take some incidental cuttings and seedlings for the Greenbelt. I acquired several cuttings from their hearty stock of Black Elderberry as well as a redbud seedling. I found what appear to be 2 very small ninebark and 1 golden currant seedling - although it's possible that I misidentified one or all of them since the leaves are so similar. I am quite confident they are from one of the two species since both were represented in the front garden bed at MLTNS. But perhaps the most exciting find - I was able to take home 2 red buckeye seedlings... an awesome new addition to our space if they survive. The continuing cool wet dreary weather should go a long way to establishing the new season's plantings.

Posted on 10 de mayo de 2021 by ann223 ann223 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de mayo de 2021

Housekeeping

May 3, 2021. Sunday was overcast in the mid seventies - the perfect climate for some much needed spring housekeeping in the Greenbelt. The established chokecherry (Prunus vinginiana) were blooming on the east end of the property but the the entire thicket was threatened by overgrowth of aggressive vines. Riverbank grape (Vitis reparia) is a native species to Kansas with the ability to climb 20-30 feet into the tree canopy and choke the life out of them. These vines had already killed a couple of trees in the area. I cut them out, all the way back to their base and dragged away the foliage and other debris. The remaining clearing will serve as an excellent planting base for the next shipment of perennials arriving the end of May.

In addition to that hearty physical challenge, I moved the newly planted dwarf crested irises to a shadier spot on the east end of the property - near the established and newly saved chokecherry thicket. The previous spot was just a little to sunny and dry for optimal growth. They should do well in the new North East exposure along the bank of the stream.

The other major task was part of my ongoing Johnson grass eradication effort. Last season I attempted to control it using a weedwhacker which was utterly ineffective. My traditional string weedwhacker was no match for the tough conditions of the Greenbelt in summer. An industrial grade machine with a metal blade might work to control growth but if eradication is the goal then hand-pulling is the only way. At this point in the season, the grasses were visible but still short and the soil was loose enough they could be ripped out by the roots. I was surprisingly able to tear out a good portion of the grass around the perimeter. But it was back-breaking work. I was thankful for the break in sunshine and cooler temperatures.

I ended the work day by wrapping the emerging red oak seedlings and newly planted aronia melanocarpa with hobby wire to protect them from foraging deer. All-in-all it the day made an impact on the aesthetics. I was excited to see all of the emerging budding forbes.

Posted on 03 de mayo de 2021 by ann223 ann223 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de abril de 2021

April perennial planting

April 26, 2021. The last week brought dramatic weather shifts including a major cold snap with a hard freeze and a 3.5 inch snow event on April 20th! The largest snowfall ever recorded this late in the season. Happy Earth Day Mother Nature! Fortunately, the snow had melted by suppertime and the weather rollercoaster shifted in the other direction over the weekend. Sunday recorded temperatures in the upper 70's and today is forecast for the 80's. I took advantage of the glorious weather on Sunday to plant the latest batch of perennials I picked-up from some recent native plant sales and wintered in my garage during the cold snap. My glutes are still burning from all the squatting, bending, lifting and shoveling! These natives were also treated with MycoBloom, a prairie mixture of mycorrhizal fungi, intended to inoculate the soil with beneficial fungi and enhance establishment of native plants.

I planted the poppy and Mertensia under the existing chokecherry tree at the far eastern end of the property in the shade. I planted two of the Blue flag iris in the stream near the ninebark as a test to assess the conditions. I created a floral feature in a sunny spot a little farther west along the walkway that was recently cleared of honeysuckle. There I placed a cluster of 3 liatris, the 3 golden alexander, the 4 smooth aster and 4 of the late purple aster with the purple aster in front, alexander in the middle and the liatris flanked by smooth aster in the rear. The remaining late purple asters were planted in a cluster around the newly planted Chinkapin oak just east of this patch in the hopes to establish and spread the colony as a shortish ground cover.

The crested iris and remaining blue flag iris were planted along the path near my house so that I could keep an eye on them - my last crested iris did not survive. The literature indicates a full sun/part sun and also moist soil which is difficult to marry in our woodland setting. I planted the crested iris adjacent to the obedient plant which has similar requirements. Cross your fingers! The blue flag iris were planted with the existing cluster planted in a previous season.

The final two liatris were planted at the far west end in the designated pollinator section (under development) and the 3 Aronia were planted in a cluster just east of them - again where I can keep close tabs on them. Aronia requires sun to bloom and fruit but will tolerate full shade. They also have a high water demand and are reportedly really attractive to deer. Kansas is technically outside of their range but I am hoping they will endure. Time will tell. We are expecting rain tomorrow which should help establish these plantings. Cheers!

Plantings:
Missouri Wildflower Nursery (Anita B Gorman plant sale, April 17, 2021)
Dwarf Crested Iris (Iris cristata) x 3 quart size
Southern Blue Flag (Iris virginica) x 5 small size
Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya) x 5 small size
Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) x 5 small size
Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)x 5 quart size
Late Purple Aster (Symphyotrichum patens) x 10 small size
Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) x 5

City Roots Nursery (plant sale, April 10, 2021)
Golden alexander (ZiZia aurea) x 3 quart size
Smooth aster (Symphyotrichum laeve) x 4 small size

Posted on 26 de abril de 2021 by ann223 ann223 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

08 de abril de 2021

Spring budget increase!

April 7, 2021. Fabulous developments from today's monthly Willowridge Community HOA meeting - the Board has agreed to support a $2000 operating budget for the project this year. This allocation will cover costs of perennial plants and miscellaneous expenses - such as the recently installed garden fencing and soil applications of MycoBloom - a mixture of endomycorrhizal soil symbionts called arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. These fungi support root development and enhance the establishment of natives and may reduce non-native invasion.

I wasted no time in submitting mass orders of plantings targeting the shady eastern section including packera, virginia waterleaf, sweet william and wild strawberry. I also scored some celandine poppy, virginia bluebells, blue flag iris and dwarf crested iris. The first order will be picked up April 17th at the Anti B Gorman facility at the first native plant sale of the season. The second order from Prairie Nursery will be delayed until the end of May. How will I wait??? So exciting!

The goal is immediate impact and I aim to deliver!

Posted on 08 de abril de 2021 by ann223 ann223 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario