Lucas, Xavier, Mark, Nick, Kim, Molly, and Sarah
What a joy to meet these members of Creating Commons Collective, a grassroots organization passionate about developing beautiful, native plants landscapes for our community.
The project at Blackburn traffic circle began last spring.The soli was tilled (with the help of Mass DOT) and the first batch of plants were introduced. The group is selectively adding native flowering plants with the long term goal of creating a self-sustaining, pollinator friendly, native plants meadow.
Sarah mentioned Creating Commons Collective native plants project at Burnham’s Field, which I am very eager to go check out, and Nick shared a recent article “Improvised Landscapes” that he wrote for Arnoldia, the quarterly publication of the Arnold Arboretum. It’s a great read and you can find the link to the article below.
By Nicholas Anderson April 4, 2023
OVER THE YEARS I have abandoned and inverted my horticultural training, and today, I struggle to describe what I do. When time is short, I simply say that I make meadows with native plants; sometimes I use the term “ecological maximalism.” But definitions don’t really matter when it’s late September, and I’m stopping off at a patch of dirt in Gloucester, Massachusetts, sandwiched between a new housing development and a Market Basket on the edge of a woodland remnant. Just now I don’t particularly need any new plants, as I have a dozen or so ongoing meadow projects that double as plant nurseries, but I can’t resist a salvage mission before going grocery shopping. I walk past orange-painted surveyors’ stakes through one of the spots where I scattered seeds the previous winter. Most of the seedlings have succumbed to the drought, but a few anemic partridge-pea plants (Chamaecrista fasciculata) are visible amidst the tire tracks. This space is used as a parking lot for little league games in the summer and the city deposits untold tons of salty snow here every winter. Remarkably, whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia) and sweet fern (Comptonia peregrina) insist on colonizing into the very spot that gets savaged by the plows year after year. I pull up four rhizomes of the sweet fern and grab two tiny volunteers of winged sumac (Rhus copallinum) before heading over to the other side of the lot, where frost aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum) and oldfield goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis) are in bloom amidst mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) and tendrils of asian bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus). Out of the midst of these introduced species, I yank up twenty-odd plants with tender violence and put them in a wet, plastic bag.