The Great Falls Garden Club and Friends of the Great Falls Library recently installed an educational sign at the library meadow. Finally, passersby can answer the question, “What’s going on here?”
“Fairfax County is promoting the planting of meadows in parks and other public property in an effort to create more diverse habitats for wildlife and to reduce the amount of grass in areas that aren’t needed for sports fields or playgrounds,” said Garden Club President Candace Campbell. “We were delighted to work with them to turn what had been an unsightly storm water retention pond into a beautiful meadow that’s jam packed with bees, birds and other pollinators. The Monarch butterflies absolutely love it, which makes it a nice spot to bring children.”
As the educational sign explains, the primary purpose of the meadow is to support wildlife and the environment. The plants were chosen because they support the largest numbers of butterflies and moths and attract pollinators of all kinds. Once each year, in late winter, the meadow should be mowed. By leaving the grasses and flowers standing until then, they will provide seeds and shelter to wildlife during the winter months and protect pollinator eggs that have been laid in the stems to hatch when the weather warms. (Which answers the inevitable question, “Why don’t they cut down all this dead stuff in the fall?”)
“The Friends of the Great Falls Library are pleased to support the Great Falls Garden Club with the purchase of the new sign honoring their beautifully & lovingly maintained meadow. The Garden Club does so much to make the Great Falls Library setting beautiful and inviting,” said President Michelle Miller. “The meadow is an absolute joy to behold, either as one walks amongst it or while looking out from within the library.”
In addition to the new sign, the Garden Club prepared a binder of detailed information about each of the plants in the meadow so that interested visitors to the library can identify the dozens of flowers and grasses living there. The binder is located near the information desk. The Club also added two narrow paths to the meadow this year, so that interested visitors can walk through the meadow to see more than the handful of species visible from around the edges. Frankly, the paths are a work in progress, having been quickly squeezed by the impressive growth of surrounding flowers so that they are now nearly impossible to find. Next year they might have to be made wider… or eliminated to prevent claustrophobia among meadow visitors.
The beautiful new sign was designed by local graphic designer Bev Lane, who also designed the Garden Club logo. “Since I am normally creating logos, newspaper ads and brochures, creating this sign for the Great Falls Garden Club was really fun, “ she said. The 2’x3’ sign was placed near the sidewalk in front of the meadow, where it will be accessible to library visitors as well as school children learning about pollinators, meadows and the environment. “It’s important for people to know why this meadow is here, why the plants aren’t cut down until early spring, why specific plants were chosen,” she continued. “The new sign explains that and more.” Mrs. Lane has created logos for numerous local organizations, including Friends of the Great Falls Library, The Arts of Great Falls, Great Falls Lacrosse and the Celebrate Great Falls Foundation.
Next time you are at the library, please wander out to the meadow and check out the sign. Only a few steps farther and you’ll get a bird’s eye view of all the butterflies and bees working like mad.
Next project: a bench?