Hillsboro Park Meadow Restoration
The Town of Hillsboro has begun a restoration of the 1.5-acre meadow at the Hillsboro Park, working to introduce and identify native plant species and remove invasive plants that had infiltrated the area. The project supports the Town’s goal to protect and enhance its green public spaces and educate its residents about the benefits of community conservation efforts.
The proposed project, to restore the 1.5-acre area behind the Town Hall with a native grass, plant and wildflower meadow, will be the Town’s first large-scale community conservation project. The new meadow will be located within a walking path/exercise loop adjacent to the Town Hall, park and playground, and is expected to reach full maturation within two years of planting.
The Town is partnering with the Caroline County Soil Conservation District, Caroline County Department of Planning and Codes, University of Maryland Sea Grant Extension, US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, and community volunteers to plan and implement this project. The project will include preparing and planting a 1.5-acre meadow area with a mixture of native grasses, plants and flowers to provide pollinator and bird/wildlife habitat areas, improve water and air quality, and add color and interest to the large public space behind the Town Hall.
The meadow will be planted with over two dozen native plant species including Little Bluestem, Purple Coneflower, Marsh Blazing Star, Aromatic Aster, Oxeye Sunflower, Spotted Beebalm and Butterfly Milkweed (please see attached plant list). The mix will provide beautiful seasonal colors and interest as well as seed and flowers to attract pollinators, birds and wildlife with blooms throughout the year.
The meadow replanting will also include the installation of interpretive signage along paths through and around the meadow with information about the environmental and wildlife benefits of conservation plantings in general, and specific information about the varieties of native grasses, plants and flowers that will populate the meadow. Plant tags will include QR codes to link to information about plant species and benefits and nearby native plant retailers.
A grass walking path will meander through the meadow with benches placed at intervals alongside the path to provide opportunities to pause and take in the meadow’s scents and colors, and watch the busy activity of its smaller, wilder visitors.
The existing purple Martin houses located at the edge of the meadow will be joined by four new bluebird houses to be located within the meadow. Three perennial flowering beds will be planted along the northern edge of the meadow where it joins the large open green space area to add vibrant pops of color along the edge of the green space.
The meadow project is part of a larger effort underway in the Town to implement green practices throughout the Town that protect water quality, beautify public spaces, and enhance community resilience to climate change. The Town also is partnering with Caroline County and UMD Sea Grant Extension to address impacts from stormwater runoff in the Town and has completed a watershed assessment and concept plans to implement green stormwater practices along Town streets.
The long-term success of the meadow project will be supported by an annual maintenance plan that will be implemented by the project partners. During the growing season, annual maintenance for the meadow will include periodic visits by project team members to look for early signs of invasive plant species. Depending upon the scope of an infestation, hand removal or spot treatment with herbicides may be used. Generally, the meadow can be totally mowed or mowed in sections in the late winter or early spring to aid in seed distribution, control woody vegetation, and to encourage new growth.