In beginning to explore the maintenance of the Wolbach Farm grounds, it became evident that there were opportunities to make the Wolbach facilities envelope more “green” and to educate our visitors about the potential impacts of development and landscaping on our watershed. To get us started thinking about how we might approach this, we applied for and received a grant from the River Stewardship Council in early 2005 for a Wolbach Farm Ecological Landscaping Demonstration Project. The grant enabled us to contract with students from the Conway School of Landscape Design to develop a Master Plan for the facilities envelope of Wolbach Farm.
During 2005 and 2006, we launched the making of new gardens within the vision of the Demonstration Project plan. Below are four features of our current work already in place at Wolbach Farm, and we have also compiled a number of resources for you to use in creating your own eco-friendly landscaping.
A rain garden
now captures the runoff from our kitchen and porch, on the south side of the office.
We also use rain barrels
around the grounds at Wolbach Farm, to capture rainwater that we can then use for our gardens.
Volunteers Glen and Linda Long installed a butterfly garden
for us in summer of 2006.
And finally, behind our office, we removed some aged yews and have started a bird garden
Future projects, listed in the prioritization order shown on the Final Plan:
- Streamside restoration - this would require Conservation Commission approval, but would be fairly easy to accomplish with volunteer help.
- Buckthorn removal and replanting with native shrubs – this is part of the overall stewardship goals for the property, and may require the use of herbicides.
- Successional forest behind orchard – this area can be allowed to succeed to forest, with some oversight and monitoring. Occasional invasive removal and/or replanting with native plants can be done by volunteers.
- Short Meadow and Tall Meadow – these require eliminating the current non-native grasses and forbs and then replanting with native grasses and forbs. This would require additional funding.
- Septic-field garden – while an interesting idea, this would require a fair amount of planning and involve significant costs for plants, so it was not deemed a high priority.
- Deer-tolerant garden – same as septic-field garden.
- Red pine forest – this isn’t a priority area, but Laura will look into whether any timber value exists in the declining trees.
Obviously, there is lots to do but we're excited about this ability to use Wolbach Farm as a link to our land protection work. We are always looking for volunteers who would like to take one of the sections of the Plan still unfinished and see it to the end. Also, if you have time to help us keep up these beautiful gardens with an hour or two here and there, we want to hear from all of you! We will also be looking into creating a coordinated interpretation information system for the whole property. If interested, please contact Christa Collins for more details. For more information about Wolbach Farm, please click here.