With so much activity in the Rain Park, the existing grasses have been matted down a bit. This is primarily due to the grasses going dormant and people getting into the garden on their hands and knees to dig holes for new plants.
Below you see an image of Echinacea purpurea ‘PowWow White’. This is only one of about a dozen coneflowers we planted. This photo shows the entire life cycle of it. Some of the blooms have gone completely dormant while others are slowly fading into dormancy, and yet others are trying to bloom. These flowers will, hopefully, come back next year. With the mild weather in September and October and the rain, the roots should have had plenty of time to develop and survive whatever winter throws as us.
I can’t say enough about the volunteers that have helped during our inaugural year. There is so much discussion these days about the need for a public square to voice personal or political views. I couldn’t agree more with the need of rich, public interaction. However, I hear almost nothing about the need for places of respite where mutual interaction is directed for a common goal. It’s clear that South Orange and surrounding towns need more of both. The Rain Park has really offered itself as a way to get to respite. The new connections made with people of different ages and backgrounds while working in the park have been enlivening. The conversations I’ve had during our planting sessions haven’t been deep or necessarily nationally important, but they have been a break from more heady topics in the headlines. Parks are only as good as the people that support them. We have had tons of support and it is I’m extremely thankful. Though we are not solving the problems of a nation, we are making it a little more sustainable and a little more attractive. I look forward to more times of just being among others that love the outdoors as we make the Rain Park outstanding.