The Oakland Lake Wildflower Meadow

Queens County, NY

Oakland Lake lies in northeastern Queens, one of the boroughs of New York City. The lake is often considered part of Alley Pond Park, as are surrounding undeveloped areas. This includes an old ball field across a street from the eastern end of the lake. In recent years, the northern part of the field was set aside as a meadow. A narrative below describes the evolution of the meadow, through the efforts of New York City Parks Department personnel and volunteers. The meadow has become a haven for butterflies and other insects, as well as a stopover site for migrating birds in the fall. On this page, we feature many of the wildflowers that have been planted or naturally found their way to the meadow. I do have to mention that some woodland and lakeside flowers are included here, especially for the spring when meadow flowers have not begun to bloom.

The flowers of Oakland Lake are arranged by season. Click the links below to continue to the pictorials.

 

Spring June July August September Fall

 

A Brief History of the Oakland Lake Wildflower Meadow by Philip Duckett (updated 8-21-17)

 

1. In 2008 & 2009 Helen Forgione (DEP) and Mike Feller (NRG) were responsible for the planning and planting of the native wildflowers, grasses and two rows of native trees at OLWM.

2. Starting in 2010 Ed Mertz, Eugene Harris and I started taking photographs of the wildflowers at OLWM for posting on the QCC Nature on Campus BLOG. This was an extension of the photos we had been taking of the plants and birds at Oakland Lake.

3. By 2013 it became obvious to us from our photographic walks that about 50% of OLWM was now infested with Mugwort.

4. I sent an email to Dave Barker (Parks Mgr), Helen Forgione (NAC) and Mike Feller (NRG) advising them of this terrible situation.

5. Their response was swift and positive. Mike Feller meet with Dave Barker and me and conducted a survey of OLWM. He was shocked at the magnitude of the Mugwort infestation. Mike Feller outlined a plan to eradicate the Mugwort which was then implemented by Dave Barker. The plan had four basic parts.

 

a. Dave was to contact Jim Eckard and have his crew mow the entire meadow. (This should then become an annual spring mow).

b. Dave was to contact Adam Thornbrough (NRG) and have him spray a herbicide on all the Mugwort.

c. Dave was to use the NYC Parks personnel to cut and remove all the dead Mugwort resulting from the spraying.

d. I was to be the volunteer gardener and weed the meadow of Mugwort on a regular basis and maintain the paths throughout the meadow.

e. Dave Barker saw to it that all these tasks were done.

f. In the fall of 2014 Dave worked with Eugene Harris to have the first QCC student field day at OLWM. Dave obtained several dozen wildflowers from the Queens Greenhouse and the QCC students planted the new wildflowers in the meadow. Professor Eugene Harris has continued to plan and supervise this QCC student planting event each year. The Queens Greenhouse has continued to supply wildflowers for this event.

6. In 2015 the meadow was mowed in the spring and a herbicide was sprayed on all the Mugwort.

7. In 2016 Matt Symons (NE Queens Parks Administrator) had an entrance sign built and installed at the meadow. The sign reads “Welcome to the Oakland Lake Wildflower Meadow”. Matt also instructed Nelson Fung (Parks Mgr) to install wood chip paths throughout the meadow. Biology professors Regina Alvarez and Joan Petersen used the meadow for field trips for their biology classes. Adam Thornbrough donated more than one thousand wildflower plugs from the Greenbelt Native Plant Center. All these plugs were planted by Sue Stowers, Eugene Harris and myself.                                                                                                                                              

8. In 2017 it was found necessary to spray a herbicide on about 10% of the meadow because of the infestation of Mugwort. Subsequently more than 1500 wildflower plugs were planted in these areas.