Creating Sally's Pollinator Garden
I live in West Orange, New Jersey, a busy suburban town close to New York City.
Our home has a big lawn, but a lawn is a monoculture field that does not support diversity. It's a food desert for insects and birds. Once a week, the roar of lawnmower engines disturbs the peace, frightening the animals, setting everyone on edge; in an endless quest for order.
It's also boring.
After attending a lecture on creating a pollinator garden, we engaged the expertise of Kim Eireman of Eco-beneficial to help us transform our lawn of 20 years into a self-perpetuating, semi-formal home for butterflies, bees and birds.
We rented a sod cutter and our landscaper Kevin Pritchard with his team rolled up swaths of lawn and brought them to the compost center.
We made some agreeable policies for this new venture:
- No pesticides as 95% of all insects in the garden are beneficial. Holes in leaves are a good sign, that means there are insects for birds to eat.
- Use 95% native perennials, shrubs and trees. Many of which were not found in local nurseries! Hopefully that will change.
- Amend the soil only with compost and no tilling.
- Accommodate plants who like wet areas and those who like dry, the same for sun or shade.
- Leave the plants to overwinter as habitat for birds and animals.
Since we created the pollinator garden, upon awakening, I walk to each window of my bedroom and gaze out at the tall plants to see what is in bloom, how the sunlight casts its rays on the leaves and mulch, noticing what’s vivid and what is hidden in shadow and wondering how the pollinators found this garden.
Please join me in recreating the milkweed route from Canada to Mexico for the Monarch butterflies, the only species that flies the entire journey. Are you in? Report your sightings at Journey North.
Join me in following The Grand Exodus of the Monarchs here.