by Kathy Sykes
If you enjoy wildflowers, bumblebees, butterflies and birds, and want to learn more how you can grow a garden that brings nature to you, then I have something you won’t want to miss.
For the past few years, I have been working with Van Ness Main Street, fellow Master Gardeners and neighbors of all ages and experience to plant a pollinator corridor along Connecticut Avenue. And on the next two Fridays, I will be working with Politics and Prose to share some insights and expertise on how you, too, can create a wildflower and pollinator haven.
The first session, on Zoom, will be on Friday, April 15th from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The second session is a hands-on Earth Day gardening event on the following Friday, April 22nd, also from 10 to 11:30 a.m. This will be at the pollinator garden in front of Politics and Prose (5015 Connecticut Avenue).
You will learn that creating a pollinator-friendly garden is easy. You will learn about the native keystone trees, shrubs and plants and the critical role they play to develop your own patch of paradise. And you will get a list of native plants that thrive in our area, their light needs, bloom time, colors of the flowers, height and spread, and whether they attract pollinators – a very important factor.
(The two-session class costs $50 per household. Kathy is donating her share of the proceeds to the Van Ness Main Street spring planting efforts.)
There’s so much you can do in your yard – and in your neighborhood
You will learn what to plant (natives) and, just as importantly what not to plant (invasive plants). We will also examine the effects of climate change on plants and invasive species, and what gardening practices you should ditch. And we will discuss gardening techniques that will save you money, contribute to reducing green house gases, and improve your soil without the use of chemicals, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides or pesticides.
These methods would have Rachel Carson’s approval (skip the chemicals and save ecosystems) and author and entomologist Doug Tallamay’s endorsement (to protect caterpillars for parent birds feeding their young), while at the same time developing a home-grown national park.
Interest in pollinator corridors is growing like a… well, you know.
During one of Van Ness Main Street’s fall planting events, a staff member from the sustainability program at the University of Maryland happened to volunteer. He took the idea to his colleagues, and now they have 14 Prince George’s County communities planning a pollinator corridor along Route 1. Pretty exciting!
I also found an enthusiastic audience for pollinator corridors when asked to present to the 2021 UDC fall class of Master Gardeners. There are now plans to plant pollinator gardens in Wards 5, 7, and 8. Last week, UDC and Master Gardeners, together with community partners, provided native flowers and planting support for a 7th District police station. This native garden can be enjoyed in the range of flower blossom colors and the butterflies it will attract.