Courthouse Grounds Natural Area a Model of Sustainable Landscaping
Native plants are expected to need less water than old vegetation
By Bethany Nolan 331-4373 | firstname.lastname@example.org May 25, 2010, last update: 5/25 @ 9:58 am
Correction The Monroe County Green Task Force applied for a $1,000 grant, but received $400 in funding from the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society. The grant sum was incorrect in this story.
Part of the landscaping on the north side of the historic Monroe County Courthouse has been naturalized.
“Bottom line, we removed some invasive species, restored some Indiana native plant habitat that will ultimately save maintenance costs, reduce water use and serve as an example to the community that a sustainable landscape can be beautiful,” county planner Heidi Russell Wagner said via e-mail.
She and Purdue Extension agriculture and natural resources educator Amy Thompson, county drainage engineer Todd Stevenson and county parks department naturalist Cathy Meyer served on a “green” task force. The group said the newly naturalized space will serve as a wildlife habitat and showcase native plants that are required through the county’s landscaping ordinance, modeling good environmental behavior.
The plants were paid for by a $400 grant from community beautification effort Bloomington IN bloom and a $1,000 grant from the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society, and were planted by and will be maintained by volunteers.
Russell Wagner said it will take a little time for the plants’ root systems to develop. Once they do, they will not require fertilizer and will need water only during times of extreme drought.
“The irrigation lines that serve that area have been removed, which is good because we used 324,000 gallons of water on the lawn between April and July of last year,” she said by e-mail. “Anything that reduces the demand on our water treatment plant is a good thing.”