SOUTHINGTON – The women who run the Pollinator Trail Garden along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail are looking for volunteers to help with daily maintenance so they can resume their educational activities now that the pandemic has abated.
In the past, when students and residents could help take care of the garden, Southington residents, Kim Rees and Clare Bean, could bring Boy Scout troops and other groups into the garden and teach them about pollinators and l ‘ecosystem. With the pandemic restrictions lifted, Rees hopes to resume group accommodation.
“I would like to do more educational things like that. It’s just difficult because it’s myself and another person, ”said Rees, who worked with Bean to create the garden near Southington Dog Park in 2018.
Those interested in volunteering at the garden can reach Bean at 860-209-1028 or email [email protected]
Much of the time Rees and Bean spend in the garden each day is spent on maintenance – planting, watering, removing withered and dead flowers, and replacing plant tags. Last fall, a group of volunteers helped plant tulips, daffodils and hyacinths to make the garden bigger.
Rees believes in educating children about native plants that support the ecosystem. When a family recently met her in the garden, they were able to show that a milkweed leaf covered in aphids was eaten by ladybugs as a microcosm of the functioning of the food chain. Milkweed is the only plant that monarch butterflies will consume and lay their eggs on, so ladybugs play an important role in supporting the declining butterfly population – which are a major pollinator.
Retired water division supervisor Bill Casarella said the garden has become a focal point along the Southington section of the linear trail. It is located on land belonging to the Water Division and developed from a small rest area, with a drinking fountain and benches, which was installed when the opening of the path.
“They went above and beyond our expectations to go to the garden and maintain it,” he said of Rees and Bean’s efforts.
The garden began as an offshoot of the Art for a Cause Rees and Bean after-school program started at Kelley Elementary School about nine years ago. The children created works of art to be auctioned off to benefit a cause of their choice, and the garden was designed as a place to display some of the art.
“The first goal of the garden was to have a place to display all the beautiful artwork that the kids made… and from there it blossomed if we have this garden, follow the weather and do- into a garden of pollinators, ”Rees mentioned.
A memorial with a mosaic stone and wooden swinging bench was added to the garden last summer in memory of Julia Bruno, a Southington High School student who was killed in a car crash in 2019.
Part of the garden is also planted with Four O’Clock flowers grown from seeds provided by the Petit Family Foundation as an installation at Michaela’s Garden – a series of gardens planted across the state in memory of the lives lost during of the Small home invasion in 2007. in Cheshire.
The seeds of the flowers grown in Southington are sold each year and the proceeds are donated to the foundation.
Information on events, fundraisers and photos of the garden can be found on the garden’s Facebook page: Art For A Cause Pollinator Garden.
[email protected]: @leith_yessian