Observations and Recommendations
By Bob OsborneEditor’s Note: Bob Osborne is an internationally recognized horticulturist who operates Corn Hill Nursery in New Brunswick. This horticulture center was established over 25 years ago and attracts visitors from all over Canada.
Covering some 85 acres, the nursery offers about a thousand varieties of material-shrubs, trees, fruit trees, vines and perennials. They specialize in growing hardy roses that are able to withstand our brutal winters without protection.
Visitors may wander through and explore the huge garden and if they get to feeling a mite peckish stop in at the Cedar Café for a meal. This café is housed in a unique structure that Bob designed as an indoor garden. Diners enjoy their meals amid a riot of beautiful plants.
There is also a museum featuring a collection of antique farm tools. A visit to Corn Hill Nursery offers a multilayered experience. Bob notes that “You have to create something that is totally unique, and you have to be able to provide service and information. If you don’t have those two things, I don’t think you can ever compete.”
Bob visited Perth-Andover recently to evaluate and offer his insights and recommendations regarding ways to use flood prone land in the village.
Interesting and inspiring food for thought for village residents….we could create one of the finest Riverfront Parks and Edible Landscapes in the province!
The following report is based on observations made on site in Perth Andover on October 20, 2013 and submitted to Francine St. Amand.
It is our recommendation that the best use of the flood prone area on the Andover side of the Saint John River from Route 109 to the existing school is the creation of a site that would serve many different functions and have appeal to people of many different interests.
A key component to this transition would be the naturalization of a large portion of the site. Allowing native vegetation to flourish would accomplish the following:
a) The growth of woody vegetation, primarily trees and shrubs, would create the most stable and flood proof situation. Planting the edges of the river in particular would stabilize the banks and help prevent the movement of ice into and through the area.
b) There would be a marked increase in the diversity of both plant and animal species, including birds, small mammals, amphibians, insects and soil life.
c) Plants are purifiers of both air and water and would help keep this area as clean and healthy as possible.
We would recommend the following in order to maximize the benefit to the people of the area and to visitors:
1) The creation of walking trails throughout the area to give access to a wide variety of sites including the river’s edge, the creek, the seasonal pond and meadows. Existing trails, including the Trans-Canada trail and existing roads could be used for many of the trails, requiring very little input. The asphalt of existing streets could be cut and reduced in width and the sides re-vegetated. Along the trails interpretative signs could be used to explain the process of naturalization. Information on tree species, shrub species, herbaceous species and insect species could be included on the signage. As an example there is a large stand of milkweed. It could be explained that this is the primary food of the Monarch butterfly which feeds on the flowers and then travels to Mexico to breed.
Such trails can be used for walking and bicycling. These activities are extremely important to a growing number of people and their availability is an asset in attracting new people to the community. Other communities that have provided trails to their citizens have experienced a huge growth in usage of these trails and the use is expanding.
There are a growing number of tourists who are interested in such sites as teaching tools for their children and as ways to promote exercise.
2) The proximity of one of the greatest rivers in North America would be an immense asset to this area. The incorporation of trails, lookout structures and informative signage about the river itself, the animals that surround and inhabit it and the history surrounding it would be essential in the creation of this area.
3) Gardens of various types could be an integral part of the area. Community vegetable gardens, orchards and perennial gardens would appeal to various segments of the population. The soil in this area is among the best in the province and would provide excellent growing conditions. Since cleared areas and an existing community garden are already on site, it makes sense to continue using this area.
A significant factor for a smaller municipality is the low cost of this type of land usage. Allowing for natural regeneration requires little or no input. Trails already exist in this situation and any additional trails could be graveled trails that would require a relatively small input. There are a number of non-profit organizations and government agencies that will provide funding for such projects. Gardens can be created and maintained by interest groups and volunteers such as garden clubs, naturalist clubs and the like.
There is a growing trend to promote the greening of cities and towns. This type of project helps protect the environment, raises awareness of the importance of our native ecosystems and encourages people to immerse themselves in the natural world around them.
Corn Hill Nursery Ltd.
2700 Rt. 890 Corn Hill, NB
Francine St.Amand presented this report and provided copies of Bob Osborne’s observations to each councillor at the Perth-Andover Village Council meeting on October 28, 2013.