Eastern entrance to meadow
As fall approached, we focused on the north area, where we not only wanted to plant more species — including Fireweed, Black-eyed Susans, and Blue Vervain — but also construct a split rail fence and a rock pile. Both will provide basking sites for butterflies and the fence will also support vines and allow us to post notices about what we are doing.
We had to remove a couple of Manitoba Maples from this area. Both trees had been damaged by animals over the previous winter and both were shading the new section of meadow. We prepared an area for a brush pile by putting down a thick layer of newspapers, covered by landscape cloth, and pinned down with “staples” made by cutting and bending coat hangers. The branches from the Manitoba Maples were carefully placed on this base. The reasons for the underlayers are to prevent Manitoba Maple seeds from dropping to the ground and growing new trees, to prevent swallowwort plants from growing up through the branches, and – most important – to provide shelter for wildlife.
By July 2008, the new plants in the north plot had grown and spread, filling the area with a variety of blossoms.
In 2009, Diane and a small group of volunteers tackled still another area of swallowwort, hoping to reclaim it and plant it with more wildflowers and native grasses. The work is gruelling, but well worth the effort.
Like all parts of the FWG, the Butterfly Meadow continues to be threatened by invasive species. However, under the guidance of Elizabeth Powles, the Wednesday evening volunteer group is keeping Dog-strangling Vine at bay and continuing to increase the number and diversity of nectar and pollen-producing species in this area.
Northern Crescent; photo D. Gordon E. Robertson