Roland Park looking green in June, but the same can't be said for Falls Road

June is the height of Roland Park verdancy. Trees, plants, grass and weeds are at their vegetative max.

One side of our garden was so profuse it rendered a path inaccessible. We weeded. We transplanted lilies of the valley that had grown into the flagstone path. We drastically pruned lilacs growing over the path and adjacent garden beds. Alas, we had so many limbs, it would have taken another half a day to saw them up by hand for the trash men.

At the time the community organic pick-up was no longer in existence. We threw them into our "no-man's land," but I worry that piled limbs attract "critters," i.e. rats.

Word from the Roland Park Civic League is that a contractor for organic debris pickup has been selected, one that is far more economical than those who previously charged almost twice as much per pickup. Now, homeowners, who pay full maintenance fees, can schedule pickups through the Roland Park website

Roland Park is trying to do the most with funds from dues and fees. More funds would bring more service, like fall leaf collection, which is being explored. A recent incentive to pay full maintenance fees has been the planting of free shade trees on residential grass areas between the street and sidewalk. Twenty-seven trees have been planted, including red oaks, gingkoes and disease-resistant elms. They were well planted and of high quality. More will be planted this fall.

I am trying to figure where one might grow in front of our house, where some nasty, limb-shedding silver maples were planted when the house was built.

The cleanup and pruning of Centennial Park on University Parkway has the dell looking better than it has since the 1991 centennial. Ditto the community mowing of the Roland Avenue median. Some areas need weeding: at the Roland Park sign and nearby green border up to the dell, in front of the Roland Park Shopping center and on the median at Cold Spring Lane.

Hopefully, that will happen before the annual community July Fourth parade. Hopefully, the dollars the civic league has received for 2012 dues will cover that.

The city needs to mow the grass on Falls Road from Harvest Road to Northern Parkway, as that area is not covered by community funds. Currently, the area looks as if it has not been mowed once this season, except in front of the Spring House condominiums. I wonder if calls to 311 from adjacent homeowners would bring results.

The state of the trees there does not look good either. During the Falls Road resurfacing, heavy equipment moved back and forth, knocking off branches and sitting on the roots.

Speaking of disregard for nature, I hear that tar was poured down a storm drain recently during the Oakdale Road improvements. Not exactly emblematic of a cleaner, greener city. Oakdale is one of three community side streets determined to be in the worst shape. Others streets, besides Roland Avenue, scheduled for resurfacing are Elmwood from Longwood to Falls and Wilmslow from Cold Spring to Oakdale.

The Bradford pear trees at the Roland Park Shopping Center were recently cut down, causing neighborhood alarm. That is part of the overall league-approved plan to increase the number of parking spaces to accommodate a new restaurant. The approved landscape plan calls for three redbuds, knockout roses and a variety of other plantings to be installed near a new wall that promises to look better than the current railroad-tie box.

If only something could be done to stop the creeping commercialization on Falls Road. A former gas station there has added a used car lot, and another gas station recently sold fluorescent bed sheets that hung from temporary fencing.

I am wondering if a few new trees could be planted to ameliorate the Ritchie Highway look.

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