On Monday, October 9th, on Indigenous Planting Day (formerly Columbus Day), The Long Island Conservancy planted a native wildflower garden at The Meadow Croft Estate in Sayville – Bayport. On Indigenous Planting Day, students and parents will have a day out together in nature, to plant in the fall for the following spring. It is a day to volunteer, to give the plants a head start, to put our gardens to bed.
The Long Island Conservancy brought a team of seven and $2500 in native plants for “The Roosevelt Wildflower Garden.”
The plants chosen for our native wildflower garden were predominately ecotypes — not only native, but native to Long Island in particular.
Much thanks goes to Long Island Natives, Long Island’s premiere wholesale grower of native plants, for supporting this native wildflower garden project. It is fair to say that supplying the landscaping industry with native plants in volume and with quality, they have done more to ‘rewild’ Long Island than any other company.
We were joined by several volunteers from SUNY Farmingdale. With them, we were able to finish the planting in three hours. Securing the garden from the deer took a bit longer. No sooner than we had finished planting than a family of deer came peeking around in broad daylight, no doubt drawn by the smell of the native plants.
Up went the fence, and so far there have been no breaches.
Previously, The Long Island Conservancy planted a column of eleven Red Maples along the western entrance to the estate, the goal being to take up water and to shade out invasive phragmites as they grow.
Our stewardship of The Meadow Croft Estate is ongoing. We are committed to establishing an American Chestnut orchard as we work to return this all but extinct, but magnificent tree, as part of a breeding program instituted by SUNY School of Environmental Science and Forestry. See We Will Restore The American Chestnut.
We are dedicated to teaching visitors to The Meadow Croft Estate about our native plants and why they are important for local wildlife. We will be adding QR codes for each native wildflower so we can start to relearn what was common knowledge just a hundred years ago — the names of everything. Once we start to know what we are looking at again, we have a chance at saving it.
On the other hand, once we get over our “plant blindness,” and recognize how our parks and public spaces are being overrun by invasive plants — and The Meadow Croft Estate has it’s share — we can begin to remove them at scale. Read about our Dirty Dozen Campaign against invasive plants here.
For a brilliant write up of the effort to restore this tree, and the potential implications of that, especially for indigenous peoples, I highly recommend this post from Grist: The American Chestnut is Coming Back: Who is it for?
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what an absolute jewel The John Roosevelt is being carved into, thanks to the passionate restoration work at The Meadow Croft Estate, led by Mary Bailey of The Bayport-Bluepoint Heritage Association. She has long been an advocate of restoring the grounds as well as the interiors of the estate.
Tours of The Meadow Croft Estate continue on Weekends 2-4 through October. Their Christmas showing in early December is not to be missed. Then there’s Loughlin’s Vineyard, 16 acres carved out of the estate for the former caretaker, and is open on weekends as well.