Five public gardens, each designed, planted, and maintained by community volunteers will be the focus of the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association’s (DMNA) Nature and History Trail tour this Sunday August 16, 2015 from 6pm to 8pm.
The tour will highlight five public gardens that include a variety of native prairie plants, plus horticultural and edible plantings. At the gardens the community volunteers who planted and tend these spaces will host their gardens and explain the history and purpose of their work, and identify the plants, insects and other creatures that inhabit the prairies and gardens. But these are not just gardens, they are also civic engagement projects and are evidence of what caring and committed citizens can do to improve their neighborhood and watershed.
The five gardens (from west to east) include: 1) the Dudgeon-Monore Prairie at Odana Road and the bike path; Glenway Street and the bike path which features two long-standing prairie plantings; 2), on the west side of Glenway Street, maintained by Westmorland Neighborhood and 3) on the east side a set of gardens maintained by DMNA; 4) the bee and butterfly garden at Commonwealth Ave.; and 5) the fine gardens at Prospect and Fox Avenues and the bike path.
The tour is designed as a drop-in or “gallery night” style event–walkers or bikers may begin the tour at any point along the path and visit as many or few gardens as they like in any order they choose. A map and description of stops along the route may be found by clicking here; or you may pick up a trail brochure at the kiosk in Wingra Park or at Glenway Street and the bike path.
However, at note from Path Chair, Sandy Stark:
“be aware that the route is a long one by foot, so walkers may choose to focus on the “western” or “eastern” sets of prairies and gardens and not the entire grouping. Bikers should have no problems. In either case, please remember we all share this path with other walkers and bikers, so stay alert, and gather (with or without your bike) off the path itself for the tours.”
The DMNA Nature and History Trail was made possible by a Place-Making Grant from the City of Madison Planning Department. The prairie garden tour is the second of three public tours planned for 2015. The Nature and History Trail is about a 2-mile walking or biking loop that uses public streets and sidewalks to link the Southwest Commuter Path to selected ecological, cultural, and historic features that can be explored in the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood.
The trail highlights neighborhood parks and their gardens, the Wingra Oak Savanna and natural springs along Monroe Street, as well as the community-based gardens along the bike path. These gardens are not only attractive and enjoyable, but provide valuable ecosystem services: they increase watershed biodiversity, provide wildlife habitat, replace some of the original remnant native prairie vegetation that once grew along the former railroad corridor, and provide some small measure of stormwater management and runoff relief to Lake Wingra as they soak up and infiltrate rainfall. These native plantings soak up rain and not let it run off into streets and storm sewers and onto Lake Wingra.
The SW Bike Path public gardens you will see Sunday showcase not only the work of each gardener, and community leaders but will also spotlight the cooperative efforts of many civic groups and pubic and private organizations over the past few years: City Engineering Division, Madison Gas and Electric, Madison Traffic Engineering, Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association, Friends of Lake Wingra, Westmorland Neighborhood Association, Regent Neighborhood Association, City of Madison Parks Department, UW-Madison Arboretum, Friends of the Southwest Path