"The lovely flowers embarrass me,
They make me regret I am not a bee." - Emily Dickinson
Go to our Pollinator Gardening Workshop Resource page for more info
In 2016 and 2017, we planted a total of 4,000 square feet of pollinator planting near the trailhead kiosk of Distant Hill Nature Trail - 2,500 sq.ft. in 2016 and 1,500 sq.ft. in 2017. We used a mix of perennial and annual wildflower seeds of mostly species native to New England.
STEP 1 - MOW
A 3,500 square foot area of mostly native deer tongue grass (Dichanthelium clandestinum) was initially mowed with a DR Mower in the fall of 2015. The area was then mowed much shorter a second time with a riding mower in the spring of 2016.
STEP 2 - INSTALL BLACK PLASTIC
6 mil thick black plastic was put down on the newly mowed site in early May of 2016 to kill the existing vegetation. The plastic needed to be held down to keep it from being blown off. We used anything heavy we could find, including timbers, stones, and bricks.
STEP 3 - REMOVE THE PLASTIC
The black plastic was removed in late October 2016. The plastic did its job extremely well. All of the vegetation was killed. We expected weed seed to survive the six months under the plastic and we dealt with them as they germinated.
STEP 4 - REMOVE THE DEAD VEGETATION
All of the dead vegetation killed by the plastic needed to be raked up and removed before planting the seeds for the pollinator meadow.
STEP 5 - SEED THE MEADOW
The area was seeded by hand, broadcasting half of the the seed mix in one direction and the remaining half perpendicular to the first. This assured an even distribution of seed.
To insure an even distribution of the seed over the planting area when hand broadcasting the seed, the volume of the wildflower seed mix was increased by adding a filler material of moist composted sawdust. You can also use regular compost (be sure it is free of weed seeds), peat moss or coarse vermiculite. Sand or cat litter can also be used, but both have the disadvantage of being quite heavy to work with.
We used 1/2 pound of seed mixed in a 5 gallon bucket of composted sawdust for each 1000 square feet of area seeded.
STEP 6 - WE MULCHED THE SEEDED AREA WITH STRAW
With the seeding done, we covered the area with a light covering of straw to help keep the seed moist, and to partially protect the seed from birds. If we had to do it again we would have used straw mats as opposed to loose straw. High winds blew off the straw almost immediately!
STEP 7 - MOVE THE PLASTIC AND REPEAT
We were able to reuse the black plastic to plant a another 1,500 square feet of pollinator meadow in 2017. We followed the same steps used to plant the first planting the year before giving us a total of 5,000 sq. ft. of meadow.
Distant Hill was listed as one of the Top 10 Places to Visit in New Hampshire!
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Distant Hill Gardens and Nature Trail, 507 March Hill Road, Walpole, NH 03608