By Mary Reid Barrow
A family at the North End has a small yard around their row home and they have turned most of it over to peaches , blueberries, figs, vegetables and flowers.
A townhome owner on Great Neck Creek has just gone the extra mile to protect her little piece of waterfront property with a living shoreline complete with oyster castles.
And a restaurant owner on Atlantic Avenue has built and planted a green wall on his rooftop lounge to bring a little green into the concrete all around.
These environmentally responsible property owners are aware that every little bit helps, as cliched as the words are. Wherever you live or work, no matter the size of your land, you can improve your ground cover, plant more greenery, stop erosion and so much more. It takes everyone doing his or her small part to slow down flooding, lower emissions and keep the planet cool.
Over the years, grass is becoming only a path around Tiffany and Derrick Russell’s Pearl Home at the North End. Peach trees, figs and blueberries have overtaken what was once lawn on one side of the yard. A vegetable garden, where even watermelons grow, takes up most of the front yard. A long zinnia bed, Tiffany’s Mother Day present this year, now occupies the yard’s other side where grass also once grew. Duncan, Tiffany, Garrett and Derrick Russell stand where the zinna bed on the side of the house meets the vegetable bed in front:
Growing fruits and vegetables and reducing lawn space are two of the checkoffs on the Pearl Home application, said Terri Gorman, LRNow’s Pearl Home Coordinator. The Russells also are committed to other actions, such as recycling, drinking from reusable water bottles, and turning off lights that are not needed, Terri said. The
The townhome owner on Great Neck Creek was already a Pearl Home when she had a rain barrel installed through LRNow’s Pearl Yard Program to help with roof run-off that was eroding the slope along the creek, said Barbara Duke. Barbara coordinates LRNow’s Pearl Yard program.
Barbara then referred her to Vince Bowhers, who coordinates LRNow’s Shoreline Restoration Program, to help stabilize her waterfront property. Now she has a 34-foot long living shoreline built with oyster castles, technically called an “oyster castle sill” and Spartina grasses planted upland. It is the smallest living shoreline that he has worked with, Vince said:
“To me, this home represents more than a living shoreline,” Barbara said. “It is a great example of how, even with a tiny backyard, you can use several sustainable practices to improve the environment.”
Vince, who also is LRNow’s Pearl Business Coordinator, worked with Mike Mauch, owner of the renovated Harvest restaurant and its new Rooftop Lounge on Atlantic Avenue. Mike became a Pearl Business in March and Vince helped him get a Pearl Business landscape grant to build and plant a green wall on the lounge. In addition a rain barrel, on far left in the photo, was installed on the roof to catch water for the colorful flowers growing on the wall:
Harvest also locally sources food for many of its menu items, which, along with the green wall and the rain barrel are helping the environment, Vince said.
“These stories show that others can do green projects anywhere if they try,” Vince said. “A lot of good work. is being done in small pieces”
Do you have a favorite tree or plant with a story to tell? What relationships have you observed between plants and critters? Who eats whom? Who has babies where? Send an email to email@example.com