It may seem quiet on the Charles River Esplanade but The Esplanade Association has been busier than ever caring for the park and we wanted to highlight some of the important work that we are doing right now.
Winter is a vital time for The Esplanade Association to work to ensure the health of the park. As horticulturist Ozzie Bateman explains, “Plants, like people, need to be cared for regularly. The cold winter, months, when plants and trees lay in dormancy, are actually a prime time for fertilizing and pruning.”
There are over 1,800 trees to care for on the Esplanade. In early winter Ozzie applied over 500 lbs of a special slow-release fertilizer in the park which will dissolve into the soil and remain available for the trees to take in when needed.
From February through March, Ozzie will focus on winter pruning, which removes dead, damaged, or diseased limbs so that in the spring the park plants are healthier and greener.
While Ozzie handles most of the winter labor himself, The Esplanade Association relies heavily on volunteers to perform much needed labor throughout the year. Our group volunteer days begin in April and run through late November.
Last year, The Esplanade Association hosted a record 3,000 volunteers and we are currently preparing for upcoming volunteer days including the annual Charles River Clean up on April 26th.
In addition to preparing staff and schedules, we are also sharpening the tools and preparing the equipment that our 3,000+ volunteers will use. This year volunteers will once again help with cleaning and maintenance as well as various park projects including the planting of four new gardens.
In addition to making the park clean and beautiful, we are working with the DCR to make the park pathways safer for pedestrians and bikers. The Esplanade Association paid for two safety mirrors installed on the Fiedler Bridge last summer and has been working with the DCR to apply stencils to the pathway surfaces this spring to remind cyclists and pedestrians of the “rules of the road.”
The stencils will show cyclists which paths to take and which paths are excluded. There will also be “slow” reminders around heavy traffic areas like the Hatch Shell and near play areas like the Esplanade Playspace.