The promise of spring and robust Greenway growth

10, Mar, 2010 Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

March is one of those months with a split personality.  We can have unusually warm days like what we are currently experiencing, or be up to our ankles in snow and battling severe cold.  Whatever the weather, gardens often look their worst at this point in the season.  Life is barely visible and spring feels like it will never come. But wait!  If you look closely, signs of spring abound and Mother Nature is signaling the cycle of rebirth.

On the Greenway we can see Snow Drops bravely starting to bloom. Shoot tips of other early blooming bulbs such as daffodils are poking out of the ground.  Tree and shrub buds are starting to swell.  All are signs of spring, confirmation of a successful prior growing season, and a reminder that there is much more work to be done!

Snow Drops in Wharf District Parks, March 2, 2010

A field of Daffodils in the Dewey Square Parks, March 2, 2010

This is a terrific time to get prepared for the upcoming growing season, and one of the best ways to start is to look at growing conditions.  The Greenway Horticulture staff recently walked the parks with our organic practices consultant, Horticulture Director T. Fleisher of Battery Park City, to evaluate and prepare for the new growing season.

We observed healthy, stable soils with positive fertility – signals that the Greenway will burst with growth this spring.  Compared with last year, Greenway soils in all but a few parks are remarkably stronger and healthier.  For instance, in the winter of 2009, the North End boxwood hedges were bright orange, a sign of poor soil nutrition.  After a year of organic compost treatments, the hedges are now a brilliant green.  Though the lawns’ current brown color may appear unhealthy, the roots below show significant growth and a positive response to the 2009 compost treatments. This means the Greenway lawns will come back faster and stronger this spring.

Look at those roots! Grass sample from the North End Parks showing very healthy roots.

Though these signs are all positive, we are not resting on our laurels. The Conservancy is committed to continual improvement of the park. This week for instance we are our cutting the Rugosa Roses (Rosa rugosa) down to a 12” height – a standard maintenance practice – to rejuvenate the plants and allow them to grow thicker and bush out with more vigorous growth.

In the coming months, you will see the horticulture staff treating the lawns with compost and organic nutrients.  We’ll be adding composted mulch to the garden beds and applying our own “home brew” compost tea – a liquid formulation of compost that adds faster acting nutrition to the soils and plants.

With these earth-friendly practices and the power of Mother Nature, we are sure to observe beautiful perennial blooms and healthy lawns.  Trust us, spring is coming…and it’s going to be beautiful!

Do you want to help the Greenway grow? Please join us at one of our 100 volunteer events starting with a neighborhood clean up in the North End Parks on March 18th from 9 am – 12 pm. Visit our volunteer page for more information.