Saturday, November 5, 2016

Blooming Trees for Prairie Hill Streetscape

The Land Committee deals with all things horticultural. And on a varied site like the one we have at Prairie Hill, there are many issues to be considered: plantings around buildings, plantings around retaining walls, size and shape of vegetable gardens, placement of orchards, prairie plantings, paths, intentional water retention, soil, mulch, habitat for birds, and the list goes on. One recent accomplishment is a plan for the "street trees" that will grow along Miller Avenue on either side of our entrance.

We are fortunate to have a landscape expert in Marcia Shaffer, and here's what she says about the choice of the trees on the plan below:

In planning the street trees, I was very conscious that this is the first impression people will have of us as they drive by. I planned trees that would create a succession of bloom from the earliest days of spring to the middle of June. After the blooms are gone there is a period of time of fruit development. The crab apples were chosen for their small fruit size, which is what the birds like. The redbuds have a pod and the chickadees will work on the pods to get the seed out. Redbuds, fringe trees and serviceberry also have yellow or red fall color. Instead of single specimen trees, groups will be planted and then repeated along the street to give a more natural appearance. Notice the welcoming grove of serviceberry at the entrance. Toward the park, fringe trees will create a special effect first with their strap-like petals and blue fruit. They turn a lovely yellow in the fall. We are anxious to start planning more trees and shrubs along our little private street toward the commonhouse.

Above you see a sketch of Marcia's plan. Unfortunately it is very, very light. But still it gives an idea of how this will look, once planted. We will need to wait until the heavy machinery of the construction phase is done before putting these trees in the ground, but our imaginations can already see the spring, summer and fall beauty they'll provide.

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