Wildlife Habitat Garden
Arlington Reservoir Wildlife Habitat Garden History and Overview
The Wildlife Habitat Garden is the latest change at the Res, but its history goes back at least ten years. In 1999 the State of Massachusetts identified the existing earthen berm enclosing the Reservoir as a potentially high-hazard structure. The standard engineering solution at that time would be to remove all the trees along the berm and armor the bank with stone rip-rap which would totally change the nature of the area.
At that time a number of people under the auspices of Arlington Vision 2020 formed a committee to pursue alternatives. That was a long process but eventually we found an engineer with a plan that would save most of the trees. But a new emergency spillway was still required. That award winning rehabilitation project was started in 2005 and completed in 2006.
Wildlife Habitat Garden at the Arlington Reservoir
What is a wildlife habitat garden?
It is a garden planted with native shrubs, trees, and perennials that attract local wildlife. Native plants provide the foliage, pollen, nectar, and seeds that many species need to survive and thrive. The garden attracts birds, small animals, like rabbits and chipmunks, and insects, such as bees, butterflies, and wasps. A successful wildlife habitat garden must provide food, water, cover, and places to raise young.
Inspired by an anonymous donation from an Arlington Land Trust member and subsequent contributions from many other ALT members and local residents along with support from the Conservation Commission, the Wildlife Habitat Garden came to life this spring and summer after several years of planning and design work.
A dedicated garden team coordinated through the Vision 2020 Reservoir Committee has worked on planning and planting the garden. The overall design and selection of native shrubs and wildflowers were coordinated by landscape designer Martine Gougault. Among the regular volunteers who shared their garden knowledge and helped plant, weed, and water the garden are Lisa Fredman, Cathy Garnett, Jane Howard, Rachel James, Ann LeRoyer, Jim Marzilli, Stephan Miller, Elizabeth Karpati, and David White, chair of the Reservoir Committee.
A special debt of gratitude is due to the Arlington Department of Public Works, whose staff provided critical assistance and support in many ways, initially preparing the site and especially by installing the water pipes and spigots that helped sustain the garden through the dry spells.
Reservoir Wildlife Habitat Garden - Planting Day Saturday April 30
Saturday was a great day for planting the Reservoir Wildlife Habitat Garden. Many thanks to all the volunteers who showed up to make it a success. Both sides next to the spillway have new topsoil and new plants.
However we need to make sure the plants get adequate water both to get them started properly and to survive the summer. We will be organizing efforts to make sure this happens.
Reservoir Wildlife Habitat
Garden - Mulching and Planting Day Saturday May 28
We also plan to put in some more plants (probably in the Fall) and would like to encourage donations of appropriate native plants. See the recommended list below.
The Vision 2020 Reservoir Committee has already spent a lot of money on soil, plants and erosion controls. We also need to raise about $1100 for materials for the water line. So we welcome financial contributions (which are tax deductable) to keep us going. Send them to the Arlington Land Trust, P.O. Box 492, Arlington, Massachusetts, 02476 and mark them for the Reservoir Garden. Website: http://www.arlingtonlandtrust.org/
Reservoir Fall Planting - Saturday
Recommended List for Donated
We are interested in other plants, so please call me (Jim Marzilli) at 781-641-2334 if you have others that you think might be of interest. At the end of this paragraph is a nice little web site for other plants that may be of use but some listed plants have cultivation requirements that our site cannot meet. The list also has flaws in scientific nomenclature on what they call "purple butterfly weed" and "purple Joe-Pye weed" so tread carefully if you work from this list. Some shrubs would also be of high interest but please call me before bringing them. http://www.projectnative.org/HerbaceousPerrennials.php