Back to Eden Group Outlines Plans for Winter

by Jim Ruyle

This is the best time of year for many habitat restoration projects. The soil is easy to work, plants can get some roots established before the dry season, and pulling weeds is easy. Here’s a summary of what we should be doing as soon as possible:

East meadow (between the lower parking lot and the neighbors’ hedge)

A layer of cardboard and barkdust has been settling on this area for a year waiting for native grasses and other plantings that will make it a beautiful meadow. Six plants have already been started including crabapples and serviceberries that should produce blossoms and fall color to be seen from a distance. Mowing should only be required once or twice a year, after the grasses have sown their seeds, rather than the frequent mowing of the former grass. The area first needs spreading of the remaining pile of barkdust and removal of blackberry and other large weeds here and there. The Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District will help us select grass seeds and plugs and offer advice for planting.

East Texas meadow (below lower driveway)

Notice the attractive red-colored branches of the redtwig dogwoods and watch later for their blossoms. Other meadow plants from last year might bloom this spring, too. Some weeding is needed

Other Texas Street areas

The areas above and below the upper driveway on Texas Street can use some more native plants. These areas have become established since their origination four years ago. Remember the grass we used to mow?

Upper parking lot islands

These areas are important to attract friends and visitors to our habitat restoration program. They always need weeding which is easy because of the loose soil. After adding any new plants, a layer of barkdust might be wise to inhibit the weeds that seed there so easily.

North (Spurley) lot

This area, north of the patio, is our main remaining area calling for removal of invasive species such as blackberry, laurel, and holly. This can be done any time, but it’s easiest in the winter when the soil is wet. The compost pile needs tending, too.

Working on any of these projects, when done as a team as time permits, is fun, sociable, and educational. Moreover, it puts Hillsdale Community Church in a leadership position in our community and among other churches to advance the cause of saving plants and animals that, according to scientists, will otherwise go extinct. Come and help save creation. For information, contact Patti Brandon at