Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends A Landscape of Remembrance and Reflection | Page 5

sweet auburn | 2020 volume i Please help us make our vision for Indian Ridge a reality! The Friends of Mount Auburn is raising funds to cover the costs of replanting the area and caring for the new plants in those critical early years to help the landscape establish. To make a donation, please contact Director of Institutional Advancement, Jenny Gilbert at 617-607-1970 or [email protected], or visit https:// mountauburn.org/give/special-projects/. Thank you to the generous donors who have already supported this project: Alan J. & Suzanne W. Dworsky A.J. & M.D. Ruggiero Memorial Trust Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation Bill & Deb Matthews in Memory of C. Frederick Matthews the help of landscape architect Craig Halvorson. Together, they have crafted a plan that meets two key goals: to create an aesthetically-improved landscape and to improve habitat quality and overall biodiversity. These goals have already been proven to be mutually supporting with many of our recent renovations. For Indian Ridge, we will expand upon a progression of white-flowered trees observable during spring, including Silverbell, (pictured above), Dogwood, and Yellowwood. The new design will include fifteen new Silverbell trees planted in groups along the path. The trees will be complemented by new masses of shrubs, forming thickets that are essential for birds while protecting the slopes against erosion. The final effect will be a beautiful corridor of habitat-friendly plants with lush foliage, flowers, and fruit. The Silverbells will be a particularly important addition. The trees’ buds and flower clusters are food sources for birds; their seeds are food for mammals like squirrels; and their heavy flower crops in spring attract bees. Other trees include Serviceberry, a food source for forty different bird species and several dozen mammals, and White Oak, which has been championed by ecologist Doug Tallamy (Professor of Entomology, University of Delaware) as a “quintessential wildlife plant.” Massed shrub plantings of Coralberry, Ninebark, Fothergilla, and Huckleberry will similarly feature a mix of aesthetic and ecological benefits. With more than 15,000 new plants, the project will enhance the visual experience and promote biological diversity. The first step of the project (late fall 2019 through winter 2020) is removing the invasive plants that have prevented habitat-friendly vegetation from establishing over the years. Norway Maples, for example, inhibit the growth of neighboring plants by exuding chemicals that are toxic to other species. In addition, they form dense canopies that block the growth of wildflowers and native tree seedlings like sugar maples; and their shallow roots compete with grasses and other plants around them. Since 2005, they have been listed as prohibited plants by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, identified as harmful and invasive. Unfortunately, some plants that can withstand the pressures of growing under Norway Maple are Barberry and Honeysuckle, other notorious members of the state’s banned list. These are well-established on the north and east slopes of the ridge, and will be removed. After the 2020 spring migration concludes, replanting will begin on the slopes, continuing in 2021 with plantings along the path itself. During this renovation, and in the early years after its completion, we can expect to see plants in a smaller state while they grow and mature. New plantings require time and maintenance to reach full size and to fit together cohesively. Thickets in particular, which are so loved by birds, are a major component of the new plan, but will need several years to grow. However, with our staff’s trademark care, the landscape design will materialize fully as the plants establish. We will provide updates throughout these different phases, and look forward to watching this beautiful new landscape mature into one that continues to provide comfort and inspiration to visitors as well as improve habitat for wildlife. 3