BOOKER T. WASHINGTON PARK
The Albemarle Garden Club (AGC) has partnered for the past fifteen years with Charlottesville City Parks to create and improve the Bog Garden in the Booker T. Washington City Park.
At 9.25 acres, Washington Park is one of the most heavily used parks in our community. It includes sports fields, a picnic shelter, public pool and playgrounds. The annual African-American Cultural Arts Festival is held here.
AGC's CIVIC PROJECT at the "BOG GARDEN"
AREA SCHOOL PROGRAM
One of the most exciting developments in the last few years has been AGC's connection of the bog garden with area schools. We had a teacher create a specific curriculum for 6th and 7th grade students which aligns with the SOLs for those grades. Classes visit the bog to learn about wetlands and participate in scientific activities at the bog and in the classroom. Both city and county schools have shown great interest, particularly Burley Middle School where kids walk to the garden often during the year. The Village School hopes to visit as well, and we plan to draw other private schools once life returns to normal.
And before COVID, we had funded and scheduled two family days in the park in conjunction with Wild Rock. Hopefully, these will be rescheduled very soon. The teaching opportunities here seem endless, and we hope that this park and garden get used by many groups.
In the fall of 2016, Albemarle Garden Club installed a pollinator station, designed by member Karen Blair, in the bog garden. This structure is both a dramatic metal sculpture and a home for beneficial pollinators such as solitary bees. A prominent focal point in the garden, the “bee hotel” contains terra cotta compartments which are filled with natural materials such as bamboo, pine cones, and logs with drilled holes. These materials provide a place for pollinators to live, lay eggs and hide from predators. The native, pollinator friendly plants which grow in the garden are “abuzz” during warm weather with bees hatching and then laying eggs to begin the cycle again.
Plantsmap labels have been installed for many of the native plants located in the garden. With these labels, information about specific plants may be obtained through a downloaded telephone app by anyone visiting the garden.
GARDEN CLUB OF AMERICA
This site has been awarded "Partners For Plants" funding from the Garden Club of America (GCA) to enhance the Bog Garden with interpretative signage and plant labels. The area is composed of three microclimates: Bog/Wetland, Garden/Meadow, and Moist Woodland. The site is consistently moist due to springs, drainage “seep,” and poor subsoil drainage. While a true bog is characterized by persistent moisture, high acidity and low fertility, this site has moderate acidity and moderate to high fertility, due to run-off. This heavily-visited City Park garden is a demonstration site for what a rain garden can be in the home landscape. Its proximity to local schools offers a field trip site with materials for teachers to integrate a hands-on wetlands experience into the science curriculum. AGC partnered with local schools to develop this science curriculum and materials.
PLANTS YOU WILL FIND
We have also shifted the focus more towards native plants that support pollinators. Greater structure is provided by the numerous native shrubs we have included – itea, oak leaf hydrangea, winterberry, viburnum, fothergillia. We have planted five American hollies to provide an evergreen background and a wonderful sweet bay magnolia.
This year, we are adding lots more ferns, which are awfully happy here, and flowering perennials for all seasons. We put in more than 600 bare root babies and plugs, so it will take a while to fill in. Knowing which plants thrive in this particular environment is important., and we hope we’ve chosen well.
We continue to combat several strong invasives – English ivy, poison ivy, bittersweet, bush honeysuckle, grapevine, and petasites.