Why a Pollinator Garden?
One out of every three bites of food we eat comes directly from plants that require pollination to bear fruit, vegetable, or seed. A flourishing, diverse — and pollinated — plant life also provides essential food and shelter for wildlife. Sadly, many native pollinators are now in decline, some to the point of extinction. Pollinator gardens are one way to help them recover.
Plant selection focused on both native and non-native flowering plants that are known pollinator magnets. Plants were also selected for their bloom time, in order to ensure a constant bloom from early spring through late fall. Plants grown with systemic pesticides (neonicotinoids) were avoided entirely — an important consideration, as these toxins can sometimes persist for the life of the plant. The site, an old swimming pool that had been drained and filled some time in the 1990s, was chosen for its visibility, accessibility, and sun.
The Gift of a Garden
The journey from dilapidated swimming pool to glorious garden did not happen overnight. From the reclaimed pool house to the stone patio and the pool itself, each part of the garden represents the hard work of a capable, dedicated Harris Center volunteer.
In the winter of 2015, while the old pool was buried under a mountain of snow, a small group of volunteers got together to plan the very first plantings. When the melting snow revealed a tangle of weeds at the site, those same volunteers weeded for days and days. Finally, on a very hot day in mid-June, they began digging, planting, mulching, and watering each flower. Their commitment has continued through the years — women weeding, watering, and tending a place of beauty and hope, for people and for pollinators.
Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars dine on dill in the pollinator garden. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)
Indigo in bloom in the pollinator garden. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)
A Great Spangled Fritillary alights on Verbena. (photo © Tianne Strombeck)
The pollinator garden in mid-summer bloom. (photo © Emily Lord / Stewardship Network: New England)
Bees are big into Globe Thistle. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)
A group of butterfly enthusiasts stops by the pollinator garden in search of winged beauty. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)
The pollinator garden is a bee's delight! (photo © Tianne Strombeck)
For more information or to volunteer with the pollinator garden, please contact Susie Spikol Faber at (603) 525-3394 or by email.