In the late fall of 2019, we set our sights on this 300 foot strip that contained a trifecta of urban blight. Our original vision was to clean it up and spread wildflower seeds to create an urban "county road."
An extraordinary amount of trash had piled up over the years, as it seems folks leaving Capitol Hill via I-695 saw the on-ramp as the last chance to dump their bottles, cans, cups and disposable diapers. After gathering that up we cut down the weeds left over from many seasons. Still, a thick mat that remained stymied our first attempt at spreading seeds and produced a disappointing result.
It was decided that if we were going to dig, then we were going to go big! All abuzz about the first blooms of our bee balm in Winston Park, the idea stuck us to create a pollinator habitat. Just as we liberated the ground beneath the barren asphalt island outside the Marine Barracks, we would reclaim the weed patch and erstwhile refuse heap as long as a football field for the benefit of birds, bees and butterflies. A bonus for those driving by would be the sight of wildflowers to perhaps make their journey a bit more bearable.
We excavated a strip closest to the road and spread seeds from nationally renowned Ernst Seeds that included clover, zinnia, daisy, rudbeckia, coreopsis, aster, coneflower, cosmos and marigold. The seedlings required six weeks of hand watering get established. Behind the front row, mature goldenrod donated from the gardens of the Sherwood Recreation Center was planted.
We also spread hollyhock and sunflower seeds along the wall supporting the 11th Street SE exit ramp.
More pollinator species will be added as we continue to transform this space, wresting control of it away from the weeds that have ruled it for so many years.
Left: Observe the hungry visitor feast at our complimentary buffet.