Put your garden to bed for pollinators

SPENCE PUTNAM AND Anna Benson erect the official Pollinator Pathway sign at the Pulp Mill Bridge Garden in Weybridge. Photo courtesy of Susan Humphrey

If you’ve passed the flower garden at the Weybridge end of the Pulp Mill Bridge recently, you may have thought it looks unkempt, even dead. Not so, exclaim its gardeners. It’s full of life. Birds are eating seeds from seed heads and native insect pollinators will be sheltering in the stems and under fallen leaves to overwinter. This is part of the plan.

A group of Weybridge neighbors are now tending the flower garden at the triangular plot. The garden is almost 75 years old, having been planted by Joe D’Avignon and his family when they moved to town. Their children and neighbor Wilfred Bilodeau maintained it until the late 1980’s when Jane Burton took over. Over the past two years, neighbors have removed some plants and added others, watered and watched over the garden. At the end of this summer, they had a pleasant surprise. Most of the garden is now made up of native plants used by native pollinators. More native plants will be added to reach a goal of 70% native.

With the support of the Weybridge selectboard, the gardeners and members of Pollinator Pathway Addison County, Weybridge placed the Pollinator Pathway sign on a rainy Sept. 25. It is now officially part of public and private pesticide-free corridors of native plants that provide nutrition and habitat for pollinating insects and birds.

For more on the topic of fall gardens for pollinators, please join the Oct. 11 webinar, “Putting Our Gardens to Bed for Pollinators” by Emily May of Middlebury. Go to www.eventbrite.com/e/420805198677 to register.

Also, if you’re curious about what gardeners committed to creating a Pollinator Pathway are doing locally, as the Weybridge group hopes passers-by who see the sign will be, please contact [email protected] The group’s efforts include: local garden tours, education relative to native plants and pollinators, elimination of neonicotinoids and other pesticides, regular meetings, and an upcoming book discussion, as well as creating and maintaining private and public gardens. A secondary goal is to create community by bringing together residents around a common cause.

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