Great Meadows Restoration Project
Nasami Farm Nursery grows plants for a 5-acre meadow restoration at Great Meadows National Wildlive Refuge's Rice's Barn property in Sudbury, MA.
by Ted Elliman
On September 27 and 28, Scott Lafleur, Lara Ariori, and Ted Elliman from New England Wild Flower Society joined staff of Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in planting a variety of native shrubs grown at Nasami Farm for a 5-acre meadow restoration planting at the Refuge’s Rice’s Barn property in Sudbury, MA.
The Rice’s Barn meadow is an extensive, sloping former farm field with both upland and wetland sections. In the past, it was infested with glossy buckthorn and other invasive shrubs that the Refuge has successfully controlled.
With the intent of improving the meadow as habitat for migratory songbirds, the Refuge contacted Nasami earlier this year for advice on a planting plan that would include a number of berry-producing shrubs grown at Nasami. In early September, NEWFS and Refuge staff worked out a plan and a selection of plants, and at the end of September set to work.
On the first day, Lafleur delivered the first batch of 250 shrubs—which included smooth shadbush, steeplebush, meadowsweet, common elder, arrow-wood viburnum, swamp dogwood, highbush blueberry, winterberry, and moutain holly--from Nasami to the site. He, Ariori, Elliman, and Stephanie Koch of the Fish and Wildlife Service distributed the shrubs in the field for planting on the next day.
On the second day, the Refuge had a backhoe digging holes in the field, where Elliman (celebrating his 62nd birthday) joined a contingent of Refuge staff and volunteers inserting the plants and shovelling back the earth. LaFleur delivered a second batch of shrubs, the backhoe dug more holes, and the field crew with straining backs completed the work.
Following the droughty summer, the field was dry, and the shrubs would clearly need watering to survive. Fortunately, the following two weeks were generous with rain and the shrubs thus far are doing well.