Newtown Trail Project | BCTC

Newtown Trail Project

What the project entails:

In 1824, Fayette Hospital (later renamed Eastern State Hospital) was opened. Initial funding for the Pleasure Grounds was appropriated in 1829. Over the years, acreage and trees were added, including (in 1898) 400 fruit trees. Today, Bluegrass Community and Technical College occupies the former Eastern State site. Only three apple trees remain, but about 35 other tree species have been identified. Most of these are mature trees.

The Newtown Pleasure Trail Project involves developing an interpretive trail encircling the southeast quadrant of the grounds. In the fall of 2015, teams of BCTC s architecture students designed an information kiosk. In the spring of 2016, BCTC s carpentry students are building the kiosk which will be located at the trail head. The BCTC welding students are building a bench for the grounds. Students, faculty, and staff are involved in preparing the soil and planting bulbs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables as well as painting plant markers. A small orchard is being established in the sunny, open part of the quadrant, with under-story native trees (such as flowering dogwood and redbud) planted around the parking lot and under the mature existing trees.

The environmental benefits of the project include: (1) educating students and the public about the native plants of central Kentucky; (2) creating an ecologically sound habitat in an urban environment; (3) providing organically grown food for humans and other animals; (4) demonstrating how fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and trees can grow together, providing services such as nitrogen fixation, erosion control, dynamic accumulation, pollination, shelter, and food while creating beauty; (5) providing students with opportunities to actively participate in caring for plants; (6) utilizing the area as a learning lab.

The result of this project will be a functional and beautiful urban ecosystem, including an array of native and ecologically beneficial perennial and annual flowers, trees, herbs, and perennial fruits and vegetables.

The rationale for the project:

BCTC s Tree Committee feels deeply that we have a responsibility to help rebuild ecosystems to allow native plants and animals to not only survive, but to thrive. Our intention is to continue working on this project over a number of years, tending to the plants and adding to the variety as we go. During this period and into the future, we hope that hundreds of students and learners of all ages will participate in caring for this space and will take at least some of the information home, where additional little spaces for our non-human species can be created. So we anticipate that this project will, over a number of years, create a functional ecosystem that will support bees, birds, beneficial insects, and a variety of trees and plants that are important not only for now but into the future. Further, our hope is that the space will generate interest (and the knowledge for implementation) in establishing additional urban ecosystems.

What plants can one expect to see when the project is completed?

  • Fruit and nut trees (Lodi Apple, Winesap Apple, Damson plum, White dogwood, Pecan, Kieffer Pear, Belle of Georgia Peach, Montmorency Cherry
  • Honeoye Strawberry plants
  • Borage seed (companion to strawberry); Zinnia and Tithonia (for Monarchs)
  • Newtown Pippin Apple (a heritage variety, favorite of George Washington)
  • Asparagus
  • Flowering Dogwood; Redbud
  • Rose Milkweed
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Wild Bergamot
  • New England Aster
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Wild Blue Phlox
  • Celandine Poppy
  • Lance-leaf Coreopsis
  • Bird s Foot Violet
  • Sweet Black-eyed Susan
  • Columbine
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Pasture Rose
  • Dwarf Crested Iris
  • Phenomenal Lavender
  • Snow Hill Sage
  • Mixed daffodils