Pollinator Garden Planting, with Paige

Melissa Lanphere, Marketing Manager

Recently you may have noticed an individual hard at work weeding beds and planting around the grounds of Wheatsfield. This is a great opportunity to introduce our community to our greenskeeper Paige Field, ecologist, and owner of Sown Ecological Solutions LLC. Over the past few weeks, she has planted over 120 plants; some showy, others hardy, but most to reestablish our pollinator garden. This garden is located on the west edge of our main parking lot, under the retaining wall and bushes that separate us from the adjacent property.

I had the opportunity to follow Paige around the grounds to document the progress and “nerd-out” about plants a little. Here are some of the things we discussed.

Tell us about the plantings in the pollinator garden?

Slender Mountain Mint and Golden Rod were already established in the bed, and we have added Butterfly Milkweed and Black-eyed Susan. Anise Hyssop is another plant we would like to add, but it is not available locally at the moment. It is apparent that pollinator gardening has grown in popularity, which is wonderful, but it also limits local availability.

One question that comes up a lot is how do you plan to manage the beds around the co-op?

Chemical-free and hand-managed. It is helpful that all of the beds have landscaping fabric under the thick mulch. The weeds that do pop up will be pulled by hand.

What is the plan for the future of the pollinator garden?

It will likely take a few years, but by collecting seeds in the fall and dispersing them throughout the area, the pollinator garden will fill up the entire space.

We were saddened when our sage plants did not make it through the winter, your thoughts?

I think it must have been genetic, since all of the sage plantings died, not just a few plants. I have replaced them with Russian Sage by the front entrance. These are not native, but will hopefully prove hardier through the winters.

You are obviously passionate about your work, tell us more about yourself!

I love doing native plant installations in areas where people can interact with the native plants and see pollinators in motion. Incorporating these plants into public areas like this, no matter how small, can truly make a difference for pollinators like the Monarch butterfly. I am looking forward to helping the plants–and the butterflies– flourish in the years to come!”

We truly appreciate the time and effort Paige has taken with the plantings around the co-op, and look forward to enjoying the ecosystem she will help us to create for pollinators.

A note of caution, we request that all who park on the west edge of the parking lot please be careful not to pull completely up to the curb when parking. This will protect the plants from being broken and allow for new plants to get off to the best start. Signs have been added to the area to help with the effort.

To learn more about Sown Ecological Solutions, check out Paige’s website at www.sownecologicalsolutions.com

Questions and comments can be addressed to Linda Johnson, General Manager [email protected].