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ANPP demonstration garden in Arnaudville undergoes changes in 2022

The central garden at the June Walker Memorial greenhouse in Arnaudville was planted in the summer of 2018. The design focused from the front of the greenhouse, to the circular driveway and included a full sun prairie bed as well as shady beds located under a large water oak. Four years later, the oak has been removed and the plants that we installed are thriving. At this point, the garden require reevaluation (editing), an updated plan, and maintenance. Another change this year was expanding beds outside of the original plan and assigning these beds to volunteers to design, plant, and maintain.

When we started, we knew it was a learning experience for all of us. Aggressive prairie plants such as White mountain mint, Flat top goldenrod, and Beebalm were intentionally planted adjacent to one another to show us who would outcompete the other. We planted what we were growing at the time and eventually broadened our inventory and included those plants in the gardens. We will be taking out two thirds of these bully plants and increasing diversity by planting more species of prairie plants. Dona is leading this effort.

Paul and Arlene were the first to claim territory of their own. They chose the beds under the large pines on the street. We originally planted river oats along the ditch and a few woody understory plants. The beds were taken over by trumpet creeper but is now under control and the beds are defined by fallen limbs as edging.

Karen is working on the full sun wetland area near the wood fence. With help from several volunteers, she cleared out water oak saplings, poison ivy, blackberry briers, and pepper vine, leveled the ground and plan on planting Pickerel weed, Lizards tail, Swamp lilies, Irises and White-topped sedge. The bed is already full of Swamp sunflower, Saltwater mallow, and Virginia willow.

Lawrence has the woodland plot between Karen’s wetland and the street. He has been planting since it's turned cooler and the drought is finally over. Currently, there are about a dozen trees established in the plot, dominated by large Loblolly Pine and smaller Pecan, Black Cherry and Post Oak. Titi, Arrowwood Viburnum, Possumhaw Viburnum, and Virginia Sweetspire have been added to the understory. Spiderwort, Tropical Sage, Cutleaf Coneflower, Indian Pink, Christmas Fern, and Southern Shield Fern were inserted as ground cover.

Gail claimed the original bed surrounding the trunk of the water oak tree. It is full of mature American Beautyberry, Strawberry bush, Buckeye, Indian pink, Turk’s cap, and to her dismay, Frostweed, a super-competitor! She is clearing Blackberry, Japanese climbing fern and other unwanted species while planting for diversity.

Come out and help us with this effort and bring home plants we remove from the gardens. You can claim your own garden bed, or help with the others.

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