The City of Salem has been awarded a $1,000 Green Grant in the Community Beautification category as part of "Keep Virginia Beautiful" and its 13th Annual Green Grants Program
In a large grass area in Longwood Park, the city plans to increase the acreage of naturalized areas for pollinators on public land by converting existing turf grass to a working native prairie.
Workers will start with a pilot plot of about half of an acre at one of
Salem’s largest parks. They will plant native seed/species for that area. This will serve to benefit future pollinators by inviting a diversity of species and create an attractive area in the park for the public to enjoy. It will also reduce the need for mowing the area, which will decrease the amount of emissions put into the atmosphere.
Funds provided by the Green Grant will be used to remove current grass, prepare the ground, purchase seeds and plant by hydroseeding. Information and educational signs will be posted to enlighten the public about the value of having a wildflower area in the park. The signage will also help visitors understand the slow, natural process and to exercise patience.
Prairies take some time to produce the look that most people associate with a beautiful, naturalized, flowering meadow. Often, people mistake these fledgling endeavors as eyesores or weedy, unkept messes, not understanding that the native plants need a season or two to establish a hearty root system before flowering. But by year two or three, the seeds and plants will have matured enough to begin to “wow” patrons with their flowers and provide a great food source for pollinators.
The City’s Landscape Management Division has a horticulturist at its helm with full and part-time employees tasked with urban forestry, landscaping of municipal parks, schools, and greenways.
Thank you Salem, for introducing the sustainable practice of converting large areas of turf grass into a wonderland of blossoms. The bees, butterflies, and visitors are sure to love it!