Pollinator Garden Expansion: The Learning Greenhouse
Have you noticed the tarps on the slope next to the greenhouse? These tarps are blocking the sun from the grasses and some unwanted invasive species currently thriving so that by the beginning of May, we will have the ability to work with the soil and remove root systems. Classrooms will be invited to take part in every step of the process - pulling weeds, creating insect hotels, and spreading seeds. Soon you will notice collections of native flowering plants, herbs, and small trees and shrubs - all for the sole purpose of attracting pollinators! Butterflies, solitary bees, and even birds are pollinators. Not only will this new Pollinator Garden add to the beauty of our campus, but it will also be beneficial to the vegetable gardens and other flower gardens already growing in the area.
In 2014 a pollinator garden was planned and planted in front of the Learning Greenhouse for the benefit of our native pollinators, specifically Monarch Butterflies. Because of these efforts, Virginia Chance School became a Monarch Weigh Station through a national organization called Monarch Watch. https://www.monarchwatch.org/. This garden provided the necessary resources for the butterflies to make their migration route between Canada and Mexico.
Because of the benefits associated with supporting pollinators and the beauty that gardens bring to our campus, we will be purposefully planting to continue the attraction of butterflies and other native pollinators such as solitary bees and birds.
To encourage pollinating solitary bees to dwell in this area, we have asked our partner and friend of the school, Aaron Sexton, a graduate student studying solitary bees at U of L, to install two homes in our garden areas. These went in on Earth Day, April 22nd, and was especially exciting for some friends who went on insect hunts with Aaron and learned about these homes.
Are you looking to attract and promote pollinators in your garden at home? Check out these resources as both the Louisville Water Company guide and Drop Seed Nursery encourage the use of native species because they are non-invasive, water efficient as they adapt to our environment, and they benefit the native populations of pollinators - bees, butterflies, and birds.