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St. Mark’s Pollinator Garden

This approximately 60×35 foot garden on the SE corner of Main and Hillside is home to many perennial plants, both native plants and other pollinator-friendly non-native plants. Starting in mid-spring and continuing through the fall, you will see Virginia Bluebells, daffodils, penstemon, fragrant sumac, blue spiderwort, common milkweed, purple coneflower, two types of bee balm (red and lavender colored), Joe Pye weed, black-eyed Susan, New England aster, and goldenrod. At the west end of the garden is a “fruit guild” – a permaculture planting anchored by a peach tree and surrounded by perennial edibles such as chives, walking onions, and herbs.

If you visit the garden, you’ll also see Monarch butterflies and other types of butterflies, dragonflies, clearwing hummingbird moths, a variety of bees and other small pollinators, and goldfinches, which feed on the coneflower seed heads. Native gardens are very important to birds, butterflies, and insects for food and shelter.

And did you know that native plants have very, very deep roots? They do! Why is this important? Because they help absorb rainwater much, much better than grass, which has very shallow roots. When it rains, native plants help that rain infiltrate into the ground much more easily than shallow-rooted grass does, and that keeps the rain from flooding our streets and neighborhoods and washing into the storm drains. Having rain infiltrate the ground where it falls is better for stormwater management and helps prevent flooding.

If you happen to be near the garden during a downpour, you will see that the sidewalk along Hillside Ave has no water coming from the garden, but where the garden ends, you will see water sheeting over the sidewalk towards the street. We leave the dried stalks of the perennials standing over the winter, as they provide food and shelter to many of God’s smallest creatures. We remove the dried stalks in late winter/early spring, after whatever has been hibernating over the winter has awakened.