M&M!: Purcell Park

Purcell Park in Harrisonburg was identified as a good location for one of our pollinator plots due in part to its heavy pedestrian traffic and heavy investment in ecological restoration. Blacks Run, an impaired stream running through Harrisonburg for 11 miles, has a major presence within Purcell Park. In 2008, Blacks Run’s health received a major boost through restorative efforts that included planting some 4500 trees along its banks in Purcell Park. It is within this fairly new riparian buffer that we received permission from the Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation Department through the Stream Health Coordinator Trey Jarrels to construct a 100 sq. ft. pollinator garden.

Trey supplied us with a truckload of wood chip mulch on October 30, 2014. Committee members Chris Bowlen, Bea Woody, Art Vasy, Kathy Byers, Josie Kinkade and Carl Droms dug out our plot and piled it high with the wood mulch to discourage encroaching grasses. Trey documented our efforts on his website cleanstream.org here.

pollinatorgardenw.signinwinterKarl Shank, founder and co-owner of The Natural Gardens, has been supporting Monarchs and other pollinators for many years through his business. He is offering enthusiastic support for our HMN project including use of artist Morgan Fink’s beautiful milkweed graphic gracing the current temporary sign that marks our spot.

Sue Gier kindly donated the color printing onto 4 legal sized sheets of vinyl adhesive to create the sign.

HburgnewsletterimageThe City of Harrisonburg’s January 30, 2015, Environmental and Stormwater Updates eNewsletter featured our project! Check out Headwaters Master Naturalists Partnership Pollinator Garden Project in the newsletter HERE.

Contact Adrie ahvoors[at]gmail.com if you have ideas and/or would like to help with this HMN Focus Project location.

 Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Chris brought a passel of perennials to our Purcell site for planting. She worked with Art, Carl, Josie, Trey, and Adrie to get 11 potted plants from her yard into the ground, all chosen with the aim of having something in bloom successionally over the spring, summer and fall. To that end, in addition to the seven milkweed plants put in last fall, we now have:

  • Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani)
  • New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
  • Lavendar bee balm (Monarda fistulosa)
  • Green-headed cone flower (Rudbeckia laciniata)
  • Heart-leaved aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium)
  • White heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides)
  • Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum)

Thanks to Chris for all the plants, guidance and help!

Thanks to Carl for taking these photos:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bringing plants from the Virginia Native Plant Society, Sandy Greene and The Natural Garden, Chris helped Art, Carl and Adrie fill out the open spaces in the Purcell Park pollinator garden with the likes of blanket flower, tickseed, green and gold and lyreleaf sage. Several of the milkweed rhizomes planted last fall were found to be sprouting.

We are done planting. We set up a weekly watering/ weeding schedule to get us through the summer.

June 2015

All seven milkweed rhizomes planted last October have sprouted and other plants are blooming.

July 2015

Also in July: New sign and rain event

“While the easement is a lot of work, it has been doing its job.  The recent rain early this week provided substantial flooding from the Sieberts Creek trib into the park.  The banks overflowed and floodwaters spread out into the floodplain making a river that wrapped around the pond and eventually into Blacks Run.  The easement and vegetation helped slow down the floodwaters spreading out the flow and velocity and minimizing erosion effects on the bank.  Just downstream from Purcell the water was still in its banks which showed how the easement did its job in slowing the floodwaters and minimizing erosion on streambanks.” – Harrisonburg Stream Health Coordinator Trey Jarrels

August 2015

Harrisonburg Stream Health Coordinator Trey Jarrels snapped this photo of a “Monarch on some New York Ironweed” in our park!


August 15, 2015, M&M Migration Tour!

September and October 2015

The September 29 heavy rain event caused Seiberts Creek to overflow into the floodplain where our garden resides.

We held an October 21 garden clean up with Chris, Kathy, Josie and Adrie. The garden is currently offering shelter and food for lots of small wildlife!