The Formal Gardens
In October 2012, Conservancy-led volunteers replanted the formal gardens on the west side of the park. Local landscape designer Tom Pellett donated his services to develop a planting scheme that would keep the garden visually exciting throughout the year. Among the featured plants are daffodils, hostas, lenten roses, daylilies, and autumn ferns. The plantings are maintained on a volunteer basis by the Daughters of the American Revolution – River City Chapter.
In fall 2012, 400 trees and shrubs were planted throughout Overton Park. The project was funded by The Miriam and Ernest Kelly Family Foundation and members of the Kelly family, and plants were provided at a generous discount by Greg Touliatos & Associates. Tom Pellett again donated his services to develop a planting plan, and the crew from Echo Systems, Ltd. got everything in the ground. We also had wonderful volunteer assistance from Cub Scout Pack 13, making it a true team effort.
Rainbow Lake Pavilion Restrooms
The Rainbow Lake Pavilion restrooms were renovated and re-opened in fall 2012.
East Parkway Restrooms
New restrooms and water fountains were installed at East Parkway in summer 2013.
Invasive Plant Removal
In winter 2012 and 2013, crews removed over 2,000 cubic yards of invasive Chinese privet, which had been choking off native plants in the understory of the Old Forest State Natural Area. They will continue to monitor treatment sites in the years to come, but the major infestations have been cut and treated, clearing the way for native plants to thrive. In summer 2014, the Conservancy and a large team of volunteers began tackling several patches of kudzu. Removal sites were mapped so that we can frequently check for re-sprouts and tackle them while they’re still young.
The Old Forest Loop trail markers dated back to the 1980s, and were rotting and disappearing. In 2016, we replaced them with a more durable material, creating an interpretive map to guide users along their route.
Visitors to the Old Forest who are curious about plants and animals may enjoy our interactive field guides to plants and birds, which were developed using the iNaturalist citizen-science platform. You can even add your own observations when you’re in the park, and help us grow our list of species!