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Meadow Revival Project

It is with great pleasure that the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden announces receipt of a $220,000 grant generously given by the Hind Foundation, a San Luis Obispo-based organization. These much needed funds will restore the Garden’s Meadow section to its historic glory over the next two years.

March 6, 2013

Joni Kelly, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

A Meadow Revival at the Garden

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant from the Hind Foundation, based in San Luis Obispo, California. The organization provides funds for community-oriented projects and programs that encourage people to work together to build an enduring legacy for future generations. This generous grant of $220,000 will be used over the next two years to help fund the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s Meadow Revival Project. This project is aimed at returning the Garden’s Meadow to its historic condition as a stunning living display of native California spring wildflowers and grasses.
“We are so grateful for the overwhelming support the Hind Foundation has given us,” said Dr. Steve Windhager, Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. “These funds will truly make an enormous difference, not only in helping us restore this historically-significant landscape, but also in enriching our visitor’s appreciation and understanding of grasslands and the importance of conserving them.”

The Hind Story

The Hind Foundation was founded in 2006. Since that time, the organization has supported deserving nonprofits by funding their projects and programs, and - just as importantly - by providing education and business resources to guide them to become stronger, self-sustaining organizations.

Before the Hind Foundation came into being, the family placed significant value on community by volunteering their time and resources to organizations that supported community growth and success. Having always been inspired by, and passionate about, nature, history, music and visual arts, it was in these areas that they tended to focus their efforts. Through their involvement in local programs, the Hinds met other dedicated individuals who were making a difference in their communities, and quickly realized that these organizations needed more funding, education, and/or mentorship to truly make a difference.
By conserving, we inspire; by caring, we motivate.
This is the philosophy of the Hind Foundation. “It is each generation’s responsibility to instill these values in the next, so that as a community we can move forward without suspicion or fear,” said Greg Wm. Hind, Co-Founder.
"We are pleased to participate in the restoration of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s historic Meadow section, one of the first impressions of this spectacular garden. It is our privilege to work once again with an organization whose proven commitment is an asset to the community," said Jane Ellen Hind, Co-Founder.

The Meadow's Return to Glory

iconic image of two girls in the SBBG Meadow, field of California poppies, photo courtesy SBBG Photo archivesThe Garden’s iconic Meadow is the center-piece of the historic-landmarked landscape – one which was created through collaboration between renowned landscape architects Beatrix Farrand and Lockwood de Forest, III. The Meadow was intended to be an open expanse which led the eye to the peaks of the Santa Ynez Mountains beyond. This seminal visual experience has been cherished by generations of visitors.

Alterations to the Meadow, including the installation of two large native lawns and the encroachment of larger shrubs and perennials, have created a less than uniform look to the display which is not in keeping with the original design intent. The Garden’s recent HLAC-approved Cultural Landscape Master Plan identified restoration of the Meadow as a top priority. A new planting design which supports the Garden’s educational and aesthetic goals for both the interior and borders of the Meadow will be developed and tested. If the planting scheme develops as currently expected, we will grow upwards of 70,000 plugs of grasses and other perennials for planting in the Meadow’s interior. These will be over-sown with wildflower seed to provide the spectacular spring show that has delighted generations of visitors. The perennial grasses will provide texture and color throughout the year.
Infestations of weeds, however, have ultimately spoiled every Meadow planting scheme since the 1930s. Given this history, much of the project will be focused on eliminating the standing weed crop and reducing the weed seed bank in the soil. Staff will develop a weed abatement plan that targets the specific populations of weed species on site. Two full cycles of weed abatement will be conducted in the summers of 2013 and 2014 using measures such as grow/kill, solarization, hand-weeding, herbicides, burning, and possibly goats.
“We foresee that much of the Meadow will be bare or covered with plastic for many months during the summer and fall of each year,” said Betsy Collins, Director of Horticulture for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. “What this substantial grant will enable us to achieve is a beautiful Meadow display that is historically appropriate, helps us educate the public about California’s fragile grasslands, and is visually appealing 365 days a year!”