Eco-Landscaping

Download SVT's Ecological Landscaping brochure, with tips on improving the environmental quality of your yard.

Since moving our headquarters to Wolbach Farm in 2003, we’ve been striving to make our grounds more “green” and to educate our visitors about the potential impacts of development and landscaping on our watershed. To get us started thinking about how we might approach this, we applied for and received a grant from the River Stewardship Council in early 2005 for a Wolbach Farm Ecological Landscaping Demonstration Project. The grant enabled us to contract with students from the Conway School of Landscape Design to develop a Master Plan for the facilities envelope of Wolbach Farm.

During 2005 and 2006, we launched the making of new gardens within the vision of the Demonstration Project plan, with funding from the Crossroads Foundation (now known as the Foundation for MetroWest). Since then, we’ve been maintaining and adapting some of the features as we get to know our site better and better. Below are four features of our current work already in place at Wolbach Farm, and we have also compiled a number of resources for you to use in creating your own eco-friendly landscaping.

rain garden now captures the runoff from our kitchen and porch, on the south side of the office.

We also use rain barrels around the grounds at Wolbach Farm, to capture rainwater that we can then use for our gardens.

Volunteers Glen and Linda Long installed a butterfly garden for us in summer of 2006. This was later moved to our Founders’ Garden when we installed a new patio in the front of the building and the Wayland Garden Club volunteered its members to help with an entrance garden makeover, led by former SVT board member Cile Hicks. The entrance garden now features a mix of native and non-native plants that attract a wide variety of pollinators. Stop by in the late summer to see the buzzing around the Joe-Pye weed, in particular! 
Behind our office, we removed some aged yews and have installed a bird garden. There, winterberries and a native dogwood attract many species of bird, who also find shelter in the adjacent, remaining yews.

Some ongoing and future projects include:

  • Buckthorn removal– this is part of the overall stewardship goals for the property, and may require the use of herbicides.  
  • Successional forest behind orchard – this is being allowed to succeed to forest, with some oversight and monitoring. Occasional invasive removal and/or replanting with native plants is be done by volunteers.  
  • Short Meadow and Tall Meadow – these require eliminating the current non-native grasses and forbs and then replanting with native grasses and forbs. This would require additional funding.

Obviously, there is much to do, and we're excited about this ability to use Wolbach Farm as a link to our land protection work, and as an inspiration to home gardeners.  All the projects we’ve installed are easily replicable on a smaller scale. 

Finally, we are always looking for volunteers who would like to take one of the sections of the Plan still unfinished and see it to the end. Also, if you have time to help us keep up these beautiful gardens with an hour or two here and there, we want to hear from all of you! We will also be looking into creating a coordinated interpretation information system for the whole property. If interested, please contact Christa Collins for more details. For more information visit our Wolbach Farm page.