The new pollinator garden in Jawbone Park / Photos by Monica Zalaznik

Watering the seeds of community: Pollinator garden expected to be in full bloom by next summer

BUCKHANNON – Jawbone Park’s pollinator garden is planted and will be in full bloom this time next year.

Colonial Arts Center Manager Anne Wilson said she and a group of volunteers planted the garden last Friday with funds from a grant.

“We attended the Appalachian Gateway Community Initiative conference in October, and one of the things they talked about when looking for project opportunities is to think about the low-hanging fruit,” Wilson said. “We started to really think about some small improvements that can be made in our communities that can eventually expand into larger opportunities for our community, and we’re mainly focused on just outdoor recreation, outdoor arts and culture.”

The garden was the first project that emerged out of attending the conference.

“The pollinator garden was one of the first ideas we came up with that was tangible and feasible within the budget guidelines from the seed grant that we applied for through the Appalachian Regional Commission,” Wilson said. “That seed grant was $5,000, and we were able to install these pollinator gardens as a first step, so Lewis and Upshur County decided to go with as something connecting both counties.”

Pollinator gardens are designed to help sustain the population of pollinators – like bees, for instance — by providing them with plants that produce pollen and nectar, which, in turn, keeps those pollinators in the area.

“The pollinator garden is meant to attract different types of insects such as butterflies and honeybees, not the dangerous kind,” Wilson said. “We had to plant everything in a very specific layout because some of them will expand, some of them will stay smaller, but the garden is pretty self-sustainable. There’s a little bit of maintenance that goes into it, and Dixie [Green, city horticulturist] is helping us get it watered every day for the next few weeks until it starts to become self-sustainable, but it’s meant to just be another beautification project for the park.”

The garden is not in full bloom right now, but hopefully, by Strawberry Festival next year, it will be fully grown in with plants pollinators love.

“By the end of the summer, maybe July or August, they will be fully bloomed, and hopefully by Strawberry Festival time next year, folks will really get to see it with its full impact because it will have been installed for a year at that point,” Wilson said. “Hopefully, it will just be thriving and doing what it’s meant to do, which is just to attract good insects.”

The pollinator gardens will also feature storyboards that can be changed to advertise different events or community news.

“They’re basically blank storyboards with clear acrylic casings, so we can put any different types of information or advertisements for local events and things happening in the community in those storyboards; they’re meant to be interchangeable,” Wilson said. “They are not up here yet. I don’t know if they are up in Lewis County, but ours are with the Street Department right now, and each county got four of them.”

The first storyboard is going next to the pollinator garden in Jawbone Park, at the old horseshoe pit, and the other three locations are still undetermined. Some of the potential locations include Traders Alley and the benches near Wilson Martino Dental.

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