For the March Educational Program, GNPS was fortunate to have Spencer Tunnell, Landscape Architect, present on some of his work with the Olmstead Linear Park in the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta. This is one of my very favorite parks in Atlanta. You may have noticed the lovely greenspace as you drive along Ponce between the City of Decatur and Moreland Avenue. The path bends and winds to compliment the curving design of the entire park. Wonderful signage is also used to identify many of the trees and understory shrubs, many of which are native species that are brimming with wildlife all year long.
Spencer highlighted the area of Deepdene, located along the eastern end of the Linear Park. This is a lovely wooded tract that was once covered in English Ivy. A large portion of his work included the rehabilitation and restoration of the park. The ivy and several non-native trees had to go to make way for the native species to be restored. Within days, Spencer saw native Trillium and Bloodroot emerge once the ivy was removed. I saw many of our listeners give a little air fist pump when hearing how resilient our native plants can be when given the chance. Someone asked if herbicide was used to treat/kill the ivy. Due to the fact that the ivy creates its own chemical that smothers the forest floor, it was necessary to use a commercial grade herbicide to remove it. Many of us have to weigh the costs of using herbicides for the benefit of making way for native plants, and this issue became a great topic of conversation.
The entire program on the design and restoration of this park was truly inspiring. The very next day I spotted two GNPS members walking and enjoying this gem of a park.
Photo courtesy of Olmstead Linear Park Alliance