Pollinator Gardens Help Ensure Food Supplies

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Story image for Garden Supply from Hartford Courant


Bees have been in the news over the last few years because many hives have become sick or have colony collapse.

There are many reasons for this, ranging from the use of pesticides to the use of neonic-coated seeds. Creating gardens and mowing fields after the first frost give bees, butterflies, birds, and bats a greater opportunity to do their work, which will ensure the food supply of the future.

Feeding pollinators will help them do their important work.

The Ashford Garden Club has created a new pollinator garden, at the wrought iron fence at Knowlton Memorial Hall. It was designed and planted by Marian Matthews and is tended by the club.

“Marian was the brainchild behind the garden. She is a master gardener and environmentalist,” said Deb Gag, president of the garden club. “The garden has been well received by the community. It has inspired residents to do more native plantings in their yards.”

The plants are native to the north and southeast. Labels have been added to the garden so that citizens can identify and purchase these plants for their own gardens.

Matthews and other garden club members plan on submitting an article to the Ashford Citizen about the progress of the pollinator garden and the work of the club on a monthly basis.

“I wanted our community to see that native pollinator plants can be beautiful in all seasons and in all areas of the garden, and that they are easy to take care of once established,” Matthews said.

“Recently, I learned that pollinators are responsible for one out of three bites of food we take each day, and I believe we must take steps to bring their populations up,” she added, stressing the importance of the new garden.

Gag spoke about the beautification of the entire complex surrounding the historic Knowlton Memorial Hall and the relatively new town hall. The garden club has added stunning gardens.

“It was an incredible collaboration. We had advisors on historic plantings, of what you might see at a New England farmhouse. We have crab apple trees lining the parking lot and day lilies at the back entrance,” she said about the town hall project.

The garden club received the Distinguished Service Award for the year 2005-06.

It has not looked back, but continues to create anew.

“It is our hope that our school and community gardening projects can include a closer study of an ecological approach to raising our vegetables and flowers, along with information about planting and cultivation,” Matthews said.