More About the Garden
Although the meadow requires far less maintenance than other cultivated gardens, Plantations staff periodically removes invasive species and mow the meadow annually to encourage seed dispersal and discourage weeds. The Baird Meadow is undergoing renovation to make it more of a managed garden. Small trees, perennials, and ornamental grasses are being added to the landscape; these require less maintenance, no deadheading or pesticides, and only limited water and fertilizer.
Soon after the arboretum was constructed in 1982, Cornell professor of architecture Thomas Baird ’25 noticed the large irregular cream-flowered masses of smooth bedstraw (Galium mollugo) splashing the slopes of the arboretum bowl, drawing the eye down the slopes to the ponds and up again to Newman Overlook. Baird provided funding for a collection that would continue to provide visual unity as the woody collections expanded and matured. Beginning in 1990, he and Plantations’ then-landscape designer Rick Bogusch sowed a blend of perennial and biennial seeds to provide beautiful blooms throughout the growing season.