As part of a year long effort, the Parks and Recreation Department recently finished the City's first pollinator garden in Merrill Park. The new garden was designed by Beth Fenstermacher, Assistant City Planner.
Over the next six months, the Department will add pollinator gardens at Rollins, Keach and White Parks, as well as some wildflower areas in several locations.
Why Pollinator Gardens?
A pollinator garden is planted to provide nectar or pollen for a wide range of pollinating insects. Several important pollinators are threatened by habitat loss, including dramatic declines in native plant communities needed to support these animals.
Bees and other pollinators touch our lives every day in ways we may not realize. They are responsible for as much as one-third of the food and drinks that we consume, and contribute to the production of our clothes. They also help define our seasons: the flowering meadows of spring, the berries of summer, the pumpkins we carve for Halloween and eat at Thanksgiving, and the southward migration of Monarch butterflies.
What can you do?
When planting a garden choose native species that provide year-round interest, places and materials to build nests, and places to hibernate. Leave the dead plant materials through the winter to give the insects a place to hibernate. You can cut it back in the spring once you start to see the bugs out and know they are out of hibernation.
Start small! Even a 10x10 area will be a huge improvement. Provide not only a diversity of species, but also diversity in the type of plant (groundcovers, vines, shrubs, trees).
- Merrill Park Plant List
- Native Plant Finder
- Homegrown National Park
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Plant Finder
- Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation - Pollinator Friendly Native Plant Lists
- North American Butterfly Association
- National Audubon Society - Why Native Plants Matter
- National Audubon Society - Native Plants Database