Earlier this November, members from Offshoots’ design and horticulture teams were on site at Somerville’s Blessing of the Bay to monitor vegetation performance at one of our firm’s designed native meadows. In close coordination with Larry Weaner Landscape Associates, Offshoots Inc. has been leading the transformation of this once traditional lawn space into a new all-native pollinator meadow. During our latest monitoring visit, the team was excited to see so many of the intended native species popping up throughout the site. This was especially encouraging, as just a few months prior, the success of the meadow felt a little more uncertain.

Before 2022, this portion of Blessing of the Bay was dominated by traditional lawn and typical undesirable volunteer species such as crabgrass and plantain. After the Offshoots team stripped the site of its existing vegetation and prepared the soil, the initial meadow seeding took place in the summer of 2022. The timing of the installation proved difficult when months of severe drought struck the Boston area just after. Due to lack of consistent water, much of the new seed germination was delayed until cooler weather in late fall causing a further decrease in plant survivability when tender shoots were struck by early winter frost.

By spring of 2023 we had hoped that a substantial portion of our seed mix would have germinated and survived, however by late May we were seeing mostly volunteer species and still very few of our planted varieties. To increase our chances of outperforming the weeds we saw coming in, we decided to overseed a second round. We performed the same process again in November of 2023 to ensure we have full coverage of the site.  Coupled with this final round of seeding, we planted close to 2,000 live dormant plugs throughout.

The recent progress we are now seeing at the site is encouraging and implies that the latest overseeding was effective. We will continue to monitor the meadow’s progress and are looking forward to seeing more establishment next year. The attached photos are just a few of the native species currently growing and below is a list of those we have identified.

  • Aquilegia canadensis
  • Asclepias incarnata
  • Asclepias tuberosa
  • Carex spp.
  • Chamaecrista fasciculata
  • Eragrostis spectabilis
  • Hypericum punctatum
  • Lespedeza spp.
  • Penstemon digitalis
  • Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium
  • Schizachyrium scoparium
  • Solidago spp.
  • Zizia aurea

Check out the light-up firefly sculptures that were installed in the meadow last year!