My design intention was to help further the vision of Cambridge Seven Associates and the city’s planners to join the diverse areas that comprise the HarborWalk into a cohesive, functional, attractive, and educational walkway. Additionally, I designed the gardens to be low-maintenance habitats to benefit pollinators.
My focus remains on beautiful plantings indigenous to Cape Ann and North America that provide sustenance for birds, bees, and butterflies, while also creating four seasons of interest.
Read what reporter Glenn Collins had to say about the HarborWalk in the August 13th, 2014 New York Time’s article, “Polishing Its Past and Preparing Its Future.”
“This year Massachusetts designated four new cultural districts on Cape Ann, based on their museums, galleries, restaurants, performance spaces and artistic communities. Visitors can now download a free Cape Ann Cultural Districts smartphone app, to access a bonanza of web information and self-guided tours. This summer, 20 new “story posts,” bringing the total to 42, afford a walking encyclopedia of information. They are affixed to granite bollards situated strategically on the route (GHWalk.org).
The posts are part of the Gloucester HarborWalk, a free, multimile, historic, civic and artistic public-access walkway that zigzags in and out of historic locales, piers, plazas, docks and parks. Call it stealth wayfinding, since it affords an intimate view of the harborfront, giving access to the town’s history — and the water itself — without disturbing the working port, or cutesifying it.” For the complete article click here: “Polishing Its past and Preparing Its Future.”
Of particular note and a major component of the horticultural master plan are habitats created to help support the migratory species of birds and butterflies that travel annually through the region. Cape Ann lies within a largely unrestricted north-south corridor for migratory species of birds and insects and, in particular, Gloucester’s easternmost point is a unique and important destination along the Monarch Butterflies annual fall migration.
Visitors to the garden gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between native wildflowers and pollinators.
Through showcasing the natural beauty of the HarborWalk Garden’s wildflowers and pollinators, visitors are inspired to locate and identify the tremendous wealth of flora and fauna found on Cape Ann and to translate that information to their own gardens.
The tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera) planted at St. Peter’s Square were selected not only for their great beauty and because they are excellent shade trees, but because of their historical significance relative to Gloucester. Tulip poplar is the primary wood used in the nation’s premier organ building studio, Gloucester’s own CB Fisk, and remains today the wood of choice for ship masts. The foliage of the tulip tree is one of the caterpillar food plants of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.
The Magnolia viginiana planted at the I4-C2 Connector Garden is also one of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar’s food plants, as well as the food plant for the stunning Cecropia moth. Magnolia virginiana, like much of the flora growing throughout New England, was nearly collected to extinction. For this reason, the New England Wildflower Society was founded in 1900 to educate, promote, and conserve the region’s native flowering shrubs, trees, wildflowers, and ferns.
Links to posts about the Butterfly Gardens at the Gloucester HarborWalk ~
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Before photos of the future site of the Gloucester HarborWalk Butterfly gardens, taken in the fall, 2011.
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Please note that the butterfly and pollinator garden at the Gloucester HarborWalk is no longer in existence. The garden is now managed by Generous Gardens and has evolved using primarily non-native Eurasian-centric plants.