En Plein Air
In the fall of 2013, visiting artist Jim Reid led a group of artists onto the property for drawing and painting sessions. The fruits of their work were displayed by the McMaster Museum of Art in Togo Salmon Hall at the end of September.
Rhamnus Cathartica, or Common Buckthorn, is an invasive species of tree that had taken over the front of the property. About a square kilometre of former farmland and grassland has been transformed into a monoculture of buckthorn. Buckthorn is allelopathic, meaning its roots exude chemicals which harm other plants. This makes it a formidable competitor. A team of biologists, students, and volunteers worked to remove the buckthorn and re-introduce native grasses, to create the beautiful tallgrass prairie habitat that we see today.
Tallgrass Prairie Creation
Following the removal of the Common Buckthorn from the front of the property, the team of biologists, students, and volunteers seeded the area with native tallgrass prairie seeds. The habitat creation was very successful and today the front of the property is home to one of the few remaining tallgrass prairie habitats in Ontario! You can find beautiful native prairie plants such as Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), Big Blue Stem (Andropogon gerardii), Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), and many more!
Prescribed burns take place in the prairie on a three year cycle to help keep invasive species in check and provide much needed nutrients to the prairie vegetation.