The Buzz

Transforming the Woodlands


My big upcoming project for the fall and winter of 2016 is to begin organizing the renovation of our (roughly) 5 acre woodland located at the center of the Memphis Botanic Garden. I will be working in conjunction with other knowledgeable members of the Horticulture Staff as well as the Education Department. The main idea at the moment is to once again make the woodland more accessible and enjoyable to our guests by creating a tidy space with a large diversity of (mostly) native plants.

The first of November I began walking through the woods to prioritize areas for renovation. We started by removing all of the debris from our pathway system and trimming any foliage that might reach out and touch a passerby.  We will also remove around three-quarters of other fallen dead wood.

I then bushwhacked through about ninety-five percent of the area marking with flagging tape any trees, shrubs, and vines (such as bush honeysuckle, winged euonymus, chinese holly, privet, and english ivy) that would be considered invasive or aggressive.  I also marked for removal any trees, shrubs, and vines that, while native, might have been crowding other more desirable plants. If we ever get any days cold enough for the weeds to stop growing, we will be able to direct our personnel efforts to the removal of these marked plants.

After we have culled the woodland area we will begin designing the woodland garden. Over the past five years, I have been gathering and sowing the seed of over thirty tree and shrub species, about half of which are native to West Tennessee. Some native species I have are Common Persimmon, Kentucky Coffee Tree, American Holly, Yaupon Holly, and Native Azaleas. We will create botanically beautiful and diverse plantings to encourage insect and bird diversity, while trying to mimic the patterns of a second growth forest. I am really excited about this project.

I love trees and native plants and I love the organism that is a forest. I am looking forward to working with my team to create a delightful woodland experience here in the center of the city.

By Chris O'Bryan, MBG Arborist 

Posted by Memphis Botanic Garden News at 6:00 AM


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