March 2021: Spring Planting, Bondsville Mill, & Eastern Redbud
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Spring Planting
Can you imagine a better way of celebrating the first day of Spring and International Day of Forests? We sure can’t!! Members of Restore Our Roots and volunteers came out to plant native trees and shrubs along the stream in Kerr Park. This was our phase 3 and 4 planting, which stretches between the yellow bridge and the stone bridge. This is a continuation of our Spring planting last year, with the goal to continue down the stream until it meets the Brandywine River.
For this planting, we introduced some new native species to the mix, including elderberry, eastern redbud, basswood, eastern red cedar, spicebush, and black willow. In total, we ended up planting 80 native trees and shrubs. These species will provide a lot of benefits to our community and ecosystem.
We have seen a lot of bad floods this past year in Kerr Park, and these trees and shrubs are water-loving species that will help prevent erosion, filter out pollutants, contribute to healthy soil, and help absorb the water. 

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Check This Out: Bondsville Mill Park

Nestled back in the woods between Thorndale and Guthriesville lies Historic Bondsville Mill and its eponymously named park. Sitting on 47 acres of woods, creek, and mill, Bondsville Mill Park is currently in Metamorphosis; Rapidly becoming an eclectic space where horticulture, hiking, and history intersect. It was not too terribly long ago the mill site was in a state of disarray  after years of neglect.  The land itself was acquired by East Brandywine township in 2005, and in 2014 the park was opened to the public. Now in 2021, the park boasts 4 hiking trails, 3 gardens and a picnic area with the plans to convert the old mill into a multifunctional building.

A little history on the mill: circa 1800 Abraham Bond purchases the Mill and opens Bond Woolen factory producing mainly blue jeans. Shortly thereafter a small town forms around the mill complete with its own post office and general store. Originally powered by water diverted from Beaver Creek through a small mill race, the factory converted to electricity circa 1900. In addition to the Union Soldier uniforms the Mill produced during the Civil War, The Mill also produced automobile upholstery cloth in the late 1920s as well Air Force Jacket Lining during WWII. The large concrete pad that housed the Looms, spinning jenny’s and other textile equipment, is currently under construction, actively being renovated into “Culp’s Clearing," a garden.

Bondsville park is a must-see for casual outdoors a adventurist and the horticulturally literate. Between the butterfly garden, to the 2+ miles of trail, and from the on-trail birding locations to the picnic area, there really is a little something for everyone. Feel free to check out there website at and to follow them on Facebook to keep up with all the latest developments.

Native Plant Highlight: Eastern Redbud

For this month’s plant highlight, we would like to introduce you to one of the tree species Restore Our Roots (ROR) added to Kerr Park during this Spring’s planting along the waterway, the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis var. canadensis). This dominant small tree covers most of the Eastern seaboard and has two other natural varieties that evolved to make a home in Texas and northern reaches of Mexico.

The eastern redbud is a great addition to the suburban landscape because of its compact size. With a mature height of 15 – 30ft and a mature spread of 25 – 35ft, it can grow in areas of one's yard that are limited on overhead space. As always, check an online resource when planting close to utility poles. It is suggested to plant in an area protected from wind and to plant within other trees and shrubs to limit open exposure. Eastern redbud enjoys a site with full sun to partial shade and moisture levels from slightly moist to medium, but be sure it is well-drained. Although it has some tolerances such as clay soil, limestone soils, and being close to Black Walnut trees, this native dislikes poor drainage and wet soils. Wherever you choose to plant, be sure to pick a favored site and avoid uprooting and moving since Eastern Redbuds do not enjoy transplanting. 

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