Family Fun for Earth Day 2024!

Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 4th to help the Conservancy celebrate Earth Day/Arbor Day this year! 

This year’s Earth Day/Arbor Day celebration will continue the Conservancy’s work in Lead Mills with activities that include planting wildflowers and cleaning up the beach.  Individuals, families and small groups are invited to meet at the Conservancy’s tent at Lead Mills, just off Lafayette Street near the Forest River bridge.  Activities will run from 9 AM to Noon and seedlings, tools, water, and trash bags will be provided.  Participants are encouraged to wear gloves and sturdy shoes.

This is an annual community effort to preserve and protect Marblehead’s open spaces and is co-sponsored by Gilbert & Cole, the Conservation Commission, and the Recreation and Parks Department.

For additional information contact Maureen Ashley at 781.367.0923 or


What’s coming next?

Horticulture professionals tell us that, after proper preparation and care, the 3rd season of a newly sown meadow will be when one begins to see many native wildflowers in bloom. Until then, seeds are expected to sprout after normal dormant periods. Wildflower seeds planted at Lead Mills have a variety of dormant periods, some more than two years.

Work on this project began in 2020, when the first  12,000 sq. ft. field to be seeded was scraped of its topsoil and sown with a selection of native wildflower species chosen to be beckoning to native pollinators. Some sprouting was seen in 2022 so, one might hope to see plants blossoming this summer and going to seed in the fall..

The second field to be sown, planted with the same mixture of native wildflower seeds, was prepared differently, undergoing several tillings at the end of 2021. We might expect to see some blossoming here as well, in this its 2ndseason.

But blossoming of native wildflowers doesn’t happen by magic! Despite much time spent by a small group of dedicated volunteers, thus far mostly weeds seem to have proliferated. The amount of time needed for this project was not well understood and we probably underestimated how tough the weeds would be.

Season 2023 will be a time for reflection, to re-examine the methods used in preparation, and the various maintenance efforts employed. The reduction of the weed seeds in these two fields was not adequately achieved to allow the sought-after wildflowers to take hold. Weed control is said to be critical in a newly seeded meadow. We suspect we won’t see all the results we hoped for. If that is the case, we will need to consider other methods.

For 2023 the plan is to take a different approach, rather than seeding large areas as previously done. We will plant wildflower plugs in much smaller plots, where weeds are sure to have been minimized. With fewer weeds to start with, and continued weeding throughout the growing season, we hope for greater success.

– The Wildflower committee