Throughout the winter, we thought it would be great to share with all of our visitors what we do once the perennials are dormant and Jack Frost moves into his winter home on the Boothbay peninsula. This is the first of weekly updates showing you some of the improvements we have on the boards in the Gardens. Hopefully, when you and spring come back to the Gardens, you will be able to notice the fruits of our labors.
The first update is about Justin’s trail improvement work down along the Back River. Thanks to a grant from the Fields Pond Foundation, Justin is able to continue improving the trails on the Gardens’ property. He was also able to attend a workshop on best management practices for trail building this fall, which was coordinated and taught by the Maine Forest Service. He is using knowledge and techniques gained from this workshop directly on the trail improvement.
Justin is focusing our trail improvements on the Huckleberry Cove Trail. This trail runs south along the shoreline of the Back River from the Vayo Meditation Garden along the gorgeous ledge outcrop. If you have yet to walk down this trail, be sure to check it out this spring. When the trail was initially constructed, a layer of landscape fabric was used under the walkway mulch. Over time, we noticed that the fabric did not provide a rough enough surface for the mulch to “grab” onto. The walkway appeared that it was cracking in places, and in other locations you could even see the black landscape fabric.
What Justin did this past week was to initially scrape away the top layer of walkway mulch. Then he pulled away the landscape fabric, which we are hoping to reuse in other areas of the property. Justin is using smaller equipment and hand tools to create as little impact on the surrounding forest as possible. The mulch is scraped back by using a compact, track loader called a Toro Dingo (see above). By using a loader on tracks, the weight of the machine is spread out over a greater surface area, which causes less disturbance and compaction. Justin is hauling excess material out of the trail area with a small Kubota all-terrain vehicle. If you have been to the Gardens, you probably have noticed our staff moving about in these useful machines.
If Justin gets near a tree root, he parks the Dingo and finishes the excavation using a shovel and rake. It can be hard work, but Justin loves the fact that it keeps him warm on these colder days.
Next week, Justin will begin resurfacing the pathway with a walkway mulch we use called Superhumus. I will provide an update on the resurfacing next week. – Rodney