As I posted in early October, I updated my inventory of wildflowers that are present at a former landfill site (adjacent to the Town of Clifton Park’s Transfer Station) where an ongoing transformation to a meadow has continued to be shepherded by a group of local volunteers and enthusiastically supported by Town staff. From May through September of this year, I visited the site monthly to observe and document firsthand the diversity of native, naturalized, and, unfortunately, some invasive species (principally forbs) that have become established since my initial accounting back in 2014.
As noted in my post back in 2014, we owe thanks to the visionary leadership of Frank Berlin in all things open space, but also for his vision to have a wildflower meadow as habitat for pollinators and birds as well as a more aesthetic backdrop for visitors to the Transfer Station. That post also included links to those initial group efforts at sowing seeds.
I was accompanied by a pair of Eastern Bluebirds –one poses here atop a vent pipe at the former landfill site.
Today, I made a solo return visit to carry out some small-scale and targeted sowing of ten species of forbs, including eight native species. View the list of them along with some background info about each species – what habitat they prefer, blooming period, and which pollinators prefer them.
Fall is typically deemed to be the best time to sow wildflower seeds.
Looking over the freshly mown meadow site – atop a former landfill. A small patch of bare soil was caused by the mower deck hitting a high spot of the ground – each offered an opportunity to sow the native forb seeds today.
I intentionally waited for the annual mowing of the entire area to be completed before heading out to do so some spot sowing of a couple of species that favor more moist soils as well as broadcast sowing within a couple of highly visible areas near and along the very top of the former landfill.
Toe of slope along small shallow drainageway that flows around the base of the former landfill. Note the five “scuff marks” where I created 1-2′ long bare soil spots on which to sow both Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata) and Hog Peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata) seeds.
Occasionally, the soil was laid bare from the mower deck dragging across a high spot on the ground. Several of these is where I targeted the sowing of certain mixes of native forb seeds.
My intent in selecting the former is to hopefully add more specimens of a couple of important pollinator species: Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata) and Hog Peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata). My hope in the latter is to expand the number of native forbs in visible areas where grasses continue to be the dominant plant type. While broadcast sowing the seeds of Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), the cluster of fluffy, silky white filaments (called pappus) attached to each seed nearly filled the air and many stayed aloft for up to 100 yards from where I stood!
Please join me in keeping fingers and toes crossed in the hope that those seeds will germinate and the resulting plants will thrive!
Freshly sown seeds of Hemp Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum) (note the white tufts of fluffy hairs attached to each seed, similar to those of milkweeds) that have been tamped down by firmly stepping on them – note my footprint.