West Virginia Botanical Garden: Wild and Wonderful

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West Virginia is “wild and wonderful” all around so its no question its botanical garden, set in Morgantown, would only be an extension of its beauty. While many residents and non-residents alike question its future with its declining population and deteriorating coal industry, WV has some of the most bountiful nature lessons that we can easily learn from. Up until now I’m still trying to finish up a book I picked up in the summer called Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (its just super informative, filled with case study after case study, highly recommend it!). Its the book that initiated the Sustainable Movement so to speak (or draw our attention towards a movement that is, was, and still is here all along). Its in this book I learned that there are natural solutions, or alternatives to harsh insecticides that eradicate pests that have diseased certain trees. I mention this because it pleased me to find out that a similar effort has been done at the botanical garden in saving the hemlock trees!

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I get asked quite often why do you find solace in a botanical garden? Its because there lies the sustainable examination and solutions to global problems seen locally. Just yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending Claudia West’s lecture on “Creating Stunning Plant Communities that Stand the Test of Time” a testament to how plants should be arranged and selected. A key concern for most people in planting a garden is maintenance due to the abundance of weeds or invasive plants. A sustainable garden’s motto should always be “more functional, less maintenance.” This is accomplished by these basic principles:

  1. Replace mulch by covering area with dense vegetation, always work with nature not against it.

  2. Ditch traditional ornamental landscaping by creating better plant communities.

  3. Concerned with budget, yet? a low maintenance garden upfront saves on maintenance expenses in the future.

  4. Better plant communities are achieved by incorporating plants from different stages.

  5. Stages of plants are plants that range from reliable to bigger colonies. A mix of these helps accomplish biodiversity!

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Now observe how there is limited to no mulch at the botanical garden.

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The West Virginia Botanical Garden sits on 85 acres of land and what formerly was the Tibbs Run Reserve, a previous water basin for the people of Morgantown. Upon entering the garden you are gracefully welcomed by a flower show, followed by trails to choose from, and hidden butterfly gardens. The garden has an education and event center, that is actively planning camps and activities for children and adults.

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Devote thyself single-mindedly to the faith, and thus follow the nature designed by Allah, the nature according to which He has fashioned mankind; there is no altering the creation of Allah.
— Surah Al-roum (30:30)
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For more information on the botanical garden visit their site here.