LWLA was honored to be invited to attend the public opening of the 2.5 acre meadow that we had designed and installed for the Berskhire Botanic Garden in western Massachusetts. Both Rebecca Kagle, Managing Principal, and Marli Milano, Field Operations Coordinator, made the trip this summer to celebrate the opening of the newest amenity at the 90 year old cultural institution.
The collaborative design process involved meeting the goals of the master plan by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects as well as the horticultural and user experience goals of the garden’s staff. The meadow species selected had a particular focus on flora native to the Berkshire region. LWLA also configured a long-term maintenance plan that excluded the use of conventional herbicide and that could be integrated into the already robust schedules of the BBG horticultural staff.
Installation of BBG’s meadow began in 2021 after the design process was complete. The space had been transformed from exotic pasture grass and weeds, to bare soil, and then to a robust mix of native plants that had emerged from the seed mix. Although LWLA staff had conducted site visits throughout the process to gauge meadow development, the opening provided an opportunity for Rebecca and Marli to check once again on the meadow and its development.
It was great to arrive at the meadow and see it in its second growing season. The meadow was dominated by Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and the native Pasture Thistle (Cirsium discolor) over seed heads of Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) and Tall White Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) as well as buds of Goldenrod (Solidago spp) and Aster waiting to pop. From a flowering standpoint, it was a beautiful moment to formally open the meadow to the public and celebrate all of the hard work that had gone into this exciting project.
What proved even more exciting than the meadow itself buzzing with life and flowers was the exuberant event with approximately 100 people attending to hear Mike Beck, Eric Runquist and Thaddeus Thompson along with Marli and Rebecca discuss the project. People had questions both about BBG’s meadow but also were eager to learn how they could install something similar in their own landscapes. The goals of this project — promoting native plantings, reducing carbon intensive upkeep, and providing a landscape that is both ecologically beneficial and beautiful — certainly seemed to resonate with attendees.
Marli and Rebecca both left the garden that day feeling energized that this project was in such good hands with the BBG staff and excited to see how the meadow develops further over time.