Meadow Restoration Course Offered | Boothbay Registry

In our New England landscape, a prairie almost always brings with it a history of cultivation and human use, adding another layer to the story of its ecology. While grasslands heavily populated with native flora provide habitat for butterflies, pollinators and wildlife, starting or restoring grasslands takes planning and patience. “Even in wild areas, many plants are not native species; they are imports from other lands,” writes Heather McCargo, executive director of the Wild Seed Project and teacher in the upcoming collaboration between Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and the Boothbay Region Land Trust, “Meadows and Grasslands for Butterflies and Other Winged Companions.” .

“When native plants are lacking,” she continues, “fewer songbirds and pollinators can live and reproduce in this new landscape and this loss has a ripple effect on other native species. When you put native plants back into the landscape, they begin to provide habitat for all other creatures up and down the food chain, from pollinating insects to birds, amphibians, furry mammals and invisible soil creatures. ”

Creating a meadow may seem as simple as letting a yard or field run wild, but the process isn’t quite as simple. While stopping weekly mowing is a first step, establishing a successful meadow requires a bit more planning, such as keeping an eye out for invasive species, for already thriving natives, and observing empty patches where new native can be sown. To help guide participants through this process, CMBG and BRLT have come together to offer the upcoming course, which will explore how to start, maintain and manage existing or abandoned grasslands in New England.

The class will start at the gardens before heading to BRLT’s Oak Point Farm to examine the fields and discuss how to restore them. Participants, guided by McCargo, will take stock of the landscape and assess unique details on site, treating the prairie as a case study to practice the principles learned. “As an organization that conserves and manages habitat on the ground, we are delighted to partner with CMBG on this important topic,” says Tracey Hall, environmental educator for BRLT. “At a time when the future of monarchs, bees and other pollinators is uncertain. , cultivating meadows and grasslands on private and public land is essential.”

McCargo agrees. “I want to give our native species a place in our landscape so they can send their genetic descendants into the future and be part of the new landscapes of Maine,” she wrote. “I want them too because they are beautiful and connect us to this land.” Heather McCargo is an educator with 30 years of experience in plant propagation, landscaping and conservation. A former chief plant propagator at the New England Wild Flower Society’s Garden in the Woods, she has lectured nationally and is widely published in horticultural journals and magazines.

The class, which takes place Wednesday, August 1, from 1 to 4:30 p.m., is $55 for Gardens members, $68 for non-members. Interested persons can register online or by calling 633-8008. For more information, visit MaineGardens.org.

Chris B. Hall