Importance of pollinators focus of garden workshop

Jul 12 2018
Published by under Events, Gardening, Springfield

The event will take place July 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the intersection of Bay Street, Dartmouth Street and Catharine Street. Instructors will be Mark Richardson, botanic garden director for the New England Wildflower Society, and Annie White, a horticultural researcher at the University of Vermont.

Elizabeth Stevens has a growing desire to make her McKnight Neighborhood proud, and her current garden project is blossoming into an educational opportunity too.

She began planning a pollinator garden last spring while taking a master gardener course, and now she is promoting the Pollinate New England Garden Installation Workshop: Springfield Triangle Park.

The event will take place July 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the intersection of Bay Street, Dartmouth Street and Catharine Street. Instructors will be Mark Richardson, botanic garden director for the New England Wildflower Society, and Annie White, a horticultural researcher at the University of Vermont.

“I am honored and excited about this project,” Stevens said.

Twelve sites in New England have been selected as demonstration gardens. The New England Wildflower Society will plant a 125 square-foot garden at each selected site and offer a lecture the same day on the importance of supporting pollinators.

Stevens said the free lecture is appropriate for master gardeners, professionals or the members of the general public with some gardening experience. It will take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. July 24 at Rebecca Johnson School. “The lecture will cover strategies for choosing the best plants for pollinators plus how to use and manage them effectively to create beautiful pollinator habitats,” she said.

A tour of the newly planted pollinator garden will be offered before or after the lecture.

Stevens explained that such a garden provides a nectar and pollen source (flowering plants), a water source, a sunny area with windbreaks, a large area of native plants that will attract pollinators and no exposure or minimal exposure to pesticides.

The New England Wild Flower Society’s website emphasizes the importance of native plants: “If you live on Earth, you depend on native plants. They support the pollinators of our food crops, clean the air and water, and help to regulate climate and control water flow. They lie at the base of the food chain that leads to our dinner tables.”

Insects, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals have evolved with the plants that provide their food, shelter and other essentials for survival. Extinction of a single plant species may result in the loss of up to thirty other species of plants and wildlife, according to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Pollinate New England is an initiative to raise awareness of the steep decline in the insects, birds and other animals that pollinate plants and crops and to encourage people to use native plants in their gardens to create habitat for these critical species.

For more information, go to newenglandwild.org.

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