The Ralph Archer Woodland Garden at Whitehall has been a Master Gardener project for many years. The garden contains the largest regional collection of ferns thanks to long time Master Gardener, Ralph Archer.
On Saturday, June 24, Carolyn Waters, who has a masters degree in environmental education, led two tours through the garden to show how the garden is habitat for flora, fauna, and environmental processes beyond ferns. Carolyn pointed out trees of various ages and sizes which provide layers attractive to birds. Carolyn, who lives on the property, has seen Baltimore orioles, scarlet tanagers, golden crowned kinglets, nuthatches, and many varieties of wrens in this garden.
She demonstrated forest succession by identifying trees that had come onto the property first after the site was cleared, and the trees that followed such as several species of oaks and hickories. In recent years, those trees were intentionally planted to speed up the evolution to a later succession woodland.
Carolyn explained how a naturalized garden like Whitehall's woodland garden expands biodiversity, giving a home to both native and exotic, but not invasive plants. Retention of dead trees, decaying logs, wood mulch, and duff gives habitat for both animals and plants.
Future plans include diversion and retention of storm runoff and a water feature which collects rain water that will slowly drain into a small bog already in existence.
During the tour, Whitehall's new stone benches, collected from a local farm on the Ohio River, were used by the tour visitors and by one of Whitehall's resident cats, Grady.
Visit Whitehall Gardens at 3110 Lexington Road, Louisville, KY