|Pictures courtesy Mary Lou Keller and Larry Holladay.|
The Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy kicked off the season with a sprucing up of the Native Model Garden in Tower Park on April 2. A group of UC students, organized by Paula Breslin, Fort Thomas resident and the Academic Program Director for McMicken College of Arts & Sciences/Environmental Studies at the University of Cincinnati, volunteered their Saturday in order to weed, transplant, remove invasive species, and shore up walking trails.
The Model Native Garden is intended to showcase Kentucky native plants, shrubs, and trees.
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According to the Conservancy’s website, “The Fort Thomas Forest Conservancy’s Model Native Garden is an educational project designed to showcase this area’s rich bio-diversity with plantings native to Fort Thomas and the surrounding area…. Our goal was to create a garden of native plants around the Fort Thomas Military and Community Museum in Tower Park to showcase the natural heritage of Northern Kentucky, to educate the public about the diversity and beauty of native plants, and to encourage homeowners to landscape with native plants.
The Model Native Garden will help city and regional residents learn about native plants and we hope provide ideas for incorporating native plants in their landscaping. As an educational tool the garden will help stimulate the community’s awareness and appreciation of the natural resources in our area and it will add to the beauty of Tower Park.”
April Laskey, the caretaker of the native gardens, said that she had, “no idea the group would get so much done.” The volunteers created “A new ephemerals, ferns, and fairies garden under the sycamore.”
They moved logs, stabilized paths, divided and transplanted plants, weeded, cleaned up winter debris, pruned some plants, and removed honeysuckle. And the group prepared Phase II by clearing the section and beginning a new trail. There are also new signs to identify plants for visitors.
The garden really is a wonderful little gem tucked away in Tower Park. Stop by on your next visit. If you would like to get involved with the Conservancy or learn more about it, visit their website www.ftfc.org. You can also find a list of all of the native species in the garden.