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The original item was published from 11/15/2016 1:24:13 PM to 11/15/2016 1:28:48 PM.

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Open Space Program

Posted on: November 15, 2016

[ARCHIVED] Strawberry Hill Native Edible Plants Are In!


The project site work is complete and nearly 80 plants, donated by Russ to the Town, were planted in an area approximately 750 sq. ft. The Strawberry Hill property, like much of this region, has been dominated by a number of invasive plant species including multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), phragmites (Phragmites australis), and bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) to name a few, and management and eradication of invasives can be a time consuming and costly endeavor. Invasive plants are least desired plants because they take over the landscape and crowd out a variety of other plants creating monocultures and eliminating a healthy variety of plant types (biodiversity). They also are less desirable as a food source for wildlife because they aren't as nutritionally beneficial as native plants. We opted to take on this small scale project area as a test site to see if we could have success removing the invasives and replacing them with edible native species including Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana), Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), Juneberry (Amelanchier laevis), Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), among others, many of which are also beneficial pollinator plants for bees and butterflies. The Open Space Program received assistance from the Parks & Cemeteries crew who prepared the site by removing the invasive plants and topsoil, and replaced with clean loam and compost mix. Next, volunteers Ben Flemer, Michelle Vaillancourt, Russ Cohen, and MassLIFT/Americorp Land Steward Christine Viola planted over 80 shrubs, herbaceous and ground cover plants, all edible for wildlife and humans. We will be monitoring the area over the next couple of growing seasons until the plants become established by watering, replacing, and weeding any undesirable plants as necessary. We will be inviting Russ back next growing season to talk about the project and to lead a walk on the property to look at other potential future project sites at Strawberry Hill. The Open Space Program extends our thanks for the team effort on this project, including to our former MassLIFT/Americorp Land Steward Maggie Brown. Check back in the spring to see how the native plant garden is thriving, and if you are interested in being a plant monitor next spring/summer contact Christine Viola, To learn more about Russ’ work in the field of native edible plants visit his website below:

Russ Cohen's Eat Wild Webpage
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