Let's face it, amigo: The Beltline's "arboretum" — a fancy word for the landscaping around the trail — is looking a little rough right now. There are one billion weeds, fed by this summer's deluge. You may say to yourself, "Man, I thought a bunch of volunteers planted a bunch of trees and flowers and stuff over here. This is a bummer." You would technically be right — volunteers have planted 109,000 (!) grass "plugs" over the last four months. But you'd also be jumping the green-thumbed gun. When quizzed by Curbed Atlanta, Trees Atlanta's Brian Williams, a forest restoration coordinator, stressed that it's all part of the plan. "This is a restoration of a damaged urban ecosystem," he said. "Ecological recovery is a gradual process and each growing season will look better than the last." In a word: Patience, amigo. Patience.
Williams offered a ton of very insightful background, but, for the ecologically impaired, we'll dumb down (and use a rhyme for) the process, much like Trees did on its Facebook page. This year, meadow plants "sleep" while weeds go wild. Next year, those same plants — native grasses and wildflowers — will "creep" as they really take root. (After natives produce seeds this year, they'll produce seedlings next year, and push out some of the weeds). In 2015, sheer beauty as everything "leaps" to life!
Trees, which does a lot of good work all around the city, must be getting a lot of questions: "Unlike construction," Williams told Curbed, "this is an organic process and we want to help the public better understand what goes into restoring urban landscapes." They even posted a two-minute YouTube video in a further attempt to explain everything (and defend themselves).
— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Tyler Estep
· 2-minute YouTube video explainer [YouTube]
[Above: Non-actual Beltline image via wbir.com]