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Arboretum Habitats and Highlights

ARBORETUM HIGHLIGHTS AND HABITATS



Loop Path


The Loop Path will replace the current sidewalk on the south of the exit driveway. The walkway will have an entrance on Mill Street just to the south of the historic wall, and continue west to the Veterans Memorial and Grotto area. It will continue along the ridge of the slope providing a beautiful overlook of the Orchard. After it crosses the Maintenance Path, the plan is to have the walkway continue curving along the slope ridge and pines to the Gazebo and Creek Overlook area. From there it will loop back to the parking lot.


Four primary areas of interest will be in place along the Loop Path.


Entrance Gardens:


Formal gardens were started in October of 2010 on the Mill Street side of the Historic Wall. At that time, 4600 spring bulbs were planted to begin development of perennial gardens that extend along the entire length of the wall. The vision is to have seasonal perennials that will provide color, interest and beautification of the landscape throughout the year while requiring minimal maintenance. Additional perennials will be added throughout the summer and fall as opportunities are presented to purchase the seasonal plants.


Gardens inside, or on the rear of the wall, will also be developed. Pine, spruce, and juniper species will be used selectively to help regain some of the original historic appearance of the rear side of the wall area. Again, the plants envisioned will be perennials with possibly an emphasis on more unusual varieties.


The focal point for this garden will be a millstone representing the history of the area and reminiscent of the numerous mills that that once existed in the Town and Village. Appropriate signage will offer a short but informative narrative of that history.


A circular area of brick or stone pavers surrounding the milestone will include benches and possibly a few selectively placed Armor rocks where visitors can rest to view the garden and landscaping. A curving path might be considered to allow access to the sitting area from the entrance and exit roadways. Care must be taken that any crosswalks to the center garden area will be plainly marked for both pedestrians and approaching vehicles. Crosswalk signage should also be present to direct pedestrians to these specific crossing points.


The southeast corner of the entrance Gardens will offer a variety of flowering trees to include dogwoods, magnolias, redbuds and other appropriate species. Colorful hardwoods will also provide a splash of color as the fall season approaches. To help facilitate mowing, a circle of mulch approximately 6 – 8 feet diameter will surround the base to these trees. This will also allow for easier maintenance of the areas under the trees.


Themed gardens will be accessible for viewing along the Loop Path to the Veterans Memorial. Occasional shrubbery will be used to compliment the gardens. The gardens will consist of perennial species for afore mentioned reasons.


Additional small gardens of interest and flowering trees will be added to the area on the north side of the entrance driveway from the Circle Garden west. It is possible that at a future date, another raised circle garden, similar to and complimenting the existing one, could be constructed at the west end of the entrance driveway.


Veterans Memorial:


The Veterans Memorial will not only provide an area for celebration of national holidays, but by design, will provide a venue for various educational programs. The existence of the Arboretum lends itself to the opportunity for a variety of educational programs dealing with the natural environment including those sponsored by the New York State Parks and Recreation. Natural resource education is also part of the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan referenced in the ASP Master Plan. It is envisioned that visitors will be able to bring a lawn chair or blanket to the knoll nearby the Memorial to participate in these programs. If possible, arrangements will be made with the Williamsville School District to allow overflow parking in its Mill Middle School parking lot.


Landscaping for the Veterans Memorial will be provided in the specifications for the memorial construction.


Grotto Gardens and Meditation Area:


The Grotto is in dire need of repair. The large stones used in construction of the structure have become loose and dangerous due to the breakdown of the mortar that was used.


The Amherst State Park Master Plan Introduction reads, “Under a management agreement, the Town of Amherst will be responsible for the operations and maintenance of the State Park property.”  It is anticipated that the Town will soon address the problem of the crumbling grotto.


For many years members of the Amherst Garden club have maintained the gardens around the Grotto. Their work is greatly appreciated, and it is hoped they will continue this task.


Based on historical photographs of the Grotto area, two gardens used to exist alongside the pathway to the Grotto. In the spirit of restoring some of the history of the Mother House area, it is proposed that once again two gardens be developed on either side of the grotto path. In keeping with the use of perennials for garden plantings, it is recommended that these gardens also consist of primarily seasonal perennials.


Gazebo and Overlook Area:


The current Gazebo was built along with an arbor in the early days of the Mother House. The arbor is gone, but the historic Gazebo remains. Unfortunately, it is deteriorating and needs to be replaced. It is hoped that a new Gazebo will be constructed in the very near future, again given safety concerns regarding the structure.


The site of the Gazebo provides a beautiful over view of the Creek Bend area of Ellicott Creek. While there are no plans currently for gardens in this area, historically, rhododendrons were used in the park and thrived. It is possible that some of these plants could be used as accents near the Gazebo.


A new Gazebo would provide a lovely setting for picnics and just relaxing. It is envisioned that picnic tables would be provided inside the gazebo and one or two on the area towards the creek but high enough to avoid the periodic flooding.


The planned Loop Path that will provide access to the Grotto will also pass through a lovely area of lawn bordered by an area of conifer woods. These trees were planted as part of the original landscape of the Mother House area. Given their age of 70 plus years, provisions should be undertaken to begin replacement of those dead and dying trees so that the integrity of the conifer woods can be maintained and preserved as part of the historical landscape of the area.