New Arboretum Site Signs

  If you’re a frequent visitor to Fort Williams Park, you’ve probably noticed the white diamond-shaped signs designating present and future landscape restoration sites. Bringing alive long-range plans for the Park, each sign provides you with a link and QR code to view the history of the location and identify invasive or native plants. Restoration of…

Ferns & Fiddleheads

In the Arboretum at Fort Williams Park, two of our most abundant native plants are the hay-scented fern, Dennstaedtia punctilobula, and sweetfern, Comptonia peregrina, which is classified as a shrub. Both of these plants are able to tolerate full sun and hot, dry conditions. The addition of native ferns and low-growing shrubs are a great…

Time Your Mulch

  Adding mulch too early in the spring will delay plant growth, as mulch will keep the soil cool. On the other side of our growing season, adding mulch too soon in the fall will keep the soil warm (and moist) for a longer period of time, which can increase the incidence of disease. Winters…

Worms, Worms, The Magical Fruit

Vermicomposting is a fantastic way to turn your kitchen scraps into incredibly nutrient rich soil for your houseplants and your garden. I recommend starting this process now, indoors, while we have a slight lull in our seasons and spring fever has yet to fully set in. A properly created worm bin will not emit unsavory…

Winter Poison Ivy

One of the benefits of a mild start to our winter is the extended opportunity to bundle up and go to work outside. You may be noticing the messy, jumbled, twisted shapes of shrubs and vines you want to get rid of. I say go for it! One vine that can be particularly pesky and…

A Bittersweet Holiday? Not!

Aren’t bittersweet berries beautiful this time of year? It’s almost like nature is providing you with all the makings for a gorgeous fall or holiday wreath for your door. But wait—IT’S A TRICK! The berries of the bittersweet are deliciously colored in bright reds, oranges and yellows to attract birds to eat and spread the…

Milkweed and Monarchs

Fort Williams Park provides us with endless opportunities to learn about our world. Both Cliffside and Lighthouse View are examples of environmental reclamation, with native plants flourishing and wildlife habitat being re-established. Alterations in habitat, however well-intentioned, result in changes in wildlife populations. Disruption and widespread loss of milkweed is one example. Milkweed is critical…

Apple Trees At Cliffside

If you’ve been to Cliffside recently, you’ve undoubtedly noticed an abundance of apples blanketing the ground. It’s a beautiful sight and a cue to the arrival of fall. All across Maine, apple growers are reporting an overabundant crop. A plethora of fruit is typically nature’s signal of a harsher season ahead (the rose hips are…

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