The Prescott Journal - July 23, 2003
By Astrid Strader, Project Supervisor, Horticulturist, and Garden Designer
Many question the look of the long grass at the Prescott Heritage River Trail. If your expectation is to see a manicured park, then no wonder the disappointment. That type of park can be enjoyed in other areas of town, and other cities too; Ottawa, for example, has marvelous formalized gardens. Our park however, is quite unique. Most of us want it to be different, appreciating the merits of a more natural landscape. This brings more wildflowers (some are incredibly beautiful); more birds and therefore, fewer mosquitoes; more butterflies and beneficial insects, and there are lots of beneficial ones, which are needed to balance out the not so beneficial. It also means less watering and maintenance, therefore, less cost. Restoring the area back to a more ecologically sound one also brings hope to those who really care about the state of our earth and it’s dwindling natural resources.
This is a growing trend around the world. For instance, the only way to lessen the thick layer of permanent smog over the city of Tokyo is to plant more trees, shrubs and grasses. Hey, we knew that. Except, they have nowhere to plant them, apart from rooftops, that is. When visitors come to Prescott and are surrounded by our natural beauty, they think they’ve found a long lost paradise – which is exactly what has been planned for.
Fred Wilson, a retired musician and now music appreciation instructor at St. Lawrence College’s Encore Program has become a regular stroller on our trails. He told our team, “I just love it here and especially that it’s been allowed to go natural”. I find that is the sentiment of many, but not all. And to those of you not in agreement, your concerns are not being ignored. A more formalized parkette and gazebo area at the west end of the trail is already in the works by Parks Canada designers. The Rotary Club of Prescott will help turn this plan into a reality by making it their very special anniversary project for 2005.
Does anyone know what wildflower is depicted on the Prescott Blossoms logo (designed by Paul Boivin)? It is actually one of few native wildflowers to this area. You could win a very special perennial. Send in your entry to the town office (925-2812) or email me at email@example.com with Prescott Blossoms in the subject line.
The fact is, that almost 80% of our wildflowers are escapees from the original gardens of the settlers, who brought the flowers over from Europe or Asia. The common ditch lily, a beauty were it not so common, I believe, is called Hemerocallis fulva, a native of Japan, which has escaped into the wild.