In January 2022 LWLA began work with Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects on two meadow projects, Karen Cragnolin Park (part of the Riverlink system) in Asheville, North Carolina and Lakeshore Park in Knoxville, Tennessee.  A year of design collaboration with Nelson Byrd Woltz and coordination with local contractors paved the way for weekly construction calls and the slow but critical process of preparing each location for meadow installation. LWLA was fortunate to have an ongoing construction administration role on both projects to help shepherd the meadows through installation and establishment.


Photo: Karen Cragnolin Park, January 2022.  First visit to the site with the project team (Nelson Byrd Woltz) and Client (RiverLink).

With the goal of the meadow being installed before a ribbon cutting, site preparation at Karen Cragnolin Park began in time to allow for seeding and planting in late June 2023. LWLA was on site to oversee the installation process using a no-till seed drill, specifically configured for installation of native grasses.

Photo : Karen Cragnolin Park, June 2023.  Construction in progress and seed installation. 

The meadow mix was limited to native grasses and sedges to afford the client with flexibility in managing the anticipated pressure from difficult weeds like Johnson Grass (Sorghum halepense) and Sericea Lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata).  When the meadow is established and the weed pressure effectively managed, a mix of wildflower plugs will be installed to further enhance the project and its benefit to local pollinators.

Photo:  Karen Cragnolin Park.  Plug installation in the stormwater basin.  Water was pumped out of the basin to accommodate planting.  

With seeding successful at Karen Cragnolin Park and site preparation nearing completion at Lakeshore, a much-welcomed site visit in October 2023 provided an opportunity to put eyes on the Karen Cragnolin Park meadow in progress and 8-acres of soon-to-be meadow at Lakeshore Park.

The verdict?  Success all around.

Photo :  Karen Cragnolin Park.  Plantings establishing in the stormwater basin.

Observing seedling Broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus) and Purpletop (Tridens flavus) establishing in tidy rows from drill seeding in Asheville was a welcome sight, and a modest plug installation was making a small stormwater basin feeling more like a carefully protected patch of wetland than the regulatory necessity that it is.

Photo:  Lakeshore Park.  Steep, outside slope of the Mound, 27′ high at its peak and home to over 25,000 native Switchgrass plugs.

The visit at Lakeshore Park was split between plotting the demise a few persistent patches of Narrowleaf Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) and Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) in the meadow and assessing the success of an ambitious installation of 25,000 Shenandoah Switchgrass (Panicum virgaum ‘Shenandoah’) plugs on an ellipse shaped berm, rising 27’ in elevation, and overlooking the Tennessee River.

Photo: LS: Lakeshore Park.  Deep crimson tips of Shenandoah Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’) plugs establishing on the slope of the Mound.

Meadow installation at Lakeshore Park is set to occur in December 2023, following a year-long site preparation process.

We look forward to continued collaboration with Nelson Byrd Woltz, Lakeshore Park Conservancy (Lakeshore Park), and Riverlink (Karen Cragnolin Park), and we have no doubts that continued success as well as inevitable new challenges await us on these great projects.