June 21 – 27 was Pollinator Pride week and we decided to enhance the Watchung Park Pollinator Habitat Garden with new native species.
In total, we planted 13 new species that week, bringing the total to 18 different plant species in that little space. That means plants will be providing pollinators with food sources for most of the year. And we won't have to water them once the roots are established. Native plants, with their deep root structures, are great at storing water.
Check out our list of plants and information on each of them.
We were strategic in choosing plants. They are native to this region, perennial, have different bloom times and are good at deterring deer. It is always a good idea to have flowering plants available early in the season and late in the season for the hungry, struggling pollinators. This garden will attract bees, butterflies, monarchs looking for milkweed to host their caterpillars, hummingbirds and song birds interested in the flowers’ seeds.
We are proud to share that we conserved water in the process -- 70% of the watering was from a rain barrel (or rainstorm) water source. Though we are so grateful to The Pie Store and American Hardware for lending us the other 30%. We are also proud that one of our own Commissioners, who selected and sourced the plants, is an expert in native gardening and owns a professional landscape architecture company.
And a big thank you to the Association of NJ Environmental Commissions for getting our work started with a grant several years ago. We had a great team install the original garden as well!
To protect biodiversity and our local eco-systems, we should all strive to increase native plants and trees, minimize grass lawn area and refrain from using chemicals in our yards. Among the other demonstration gardens in town, we hope this garden will serve as a resource of ideas for your own garden!