The Crofton Civic Association and enSprout partnered to rejuvenate the community’s connection to nature by establishing a new pollinator garden at Swann Park.
The aptly named Pollinator Paradise was installed concurrently with the Crofton parks clean-up day, organized by the Crofton Civic Association. Six tons of gravel was spread out on the main path and wood chips were placed around the playground equipment. Members of the Crofton Village Garden Club helped clear the surrounding area of invasive species and trim existing plantings. Children from a local scout troop helped to prepare the garden area for planting. Crofton neighbors, young and wise, came together to unite, connect and keep our park beautiful.
The new Pollinator Paradise will not only be a haven to local wildlife, it will provide beautiful blooms throughout the growing season for residents to enjoy. Croftonians can attend future garden work days and volunteer to help with general garden maintenance. These work days will provide opportunities to learn how important pollinators are to the environment and our local food system.
Unlike many traditional pollinator gardens, the Pollinator Paradise is located in a shady site at Swann Park. All of the plants for this project were selected for their ability to grow in shady areas such as Chelone glabra, the primary host plant for Baltimore Checkerspot butterflies, and Physostegia virginian, whose tubular-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds. Many of Crofton’s homes are surrounded by mature trees, creating shade planting areas in our own yards. Residents can gather inspiration from the Pollinator Paradise to plant shade pollinator gardens on their own properties.
Studies show that pollinators (particularly butterflies) prefer to have their favorite plants grouped together so they do not have to expend much energy seeking out nectar. In addition to grouping preferred plants together we have incorporated a mix of nectar plants and caterpillar host plants. All of the plants used in this project are native species. Once these plants are established they will require little maintenance because they occur naturally in this region.
Funding for this project was provided by a grant from Unity Gardens. Unity Gardens provides small grants to diverse community groups to plant native gardens that promote cleaner water and air, reduce runoff, foster thriving eco-systems, and create natural beauty.
Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company donated used coffee grounds which volunteers mixed with the native soil prior to planting. The benefit of using coffee grounds as a fertilizer is that it adds organic material to the soil, improving drainage, water retention, and aeration in the soil. The used coffee grounds will also help microorganisms beneficial to plant growth thrive as well as attract earthworms.
enSprout is a Crofton-based company that provides families with educational experiences through nature and agriculture. Its programs and events contribute to a healthy, sustainable ecosystem by encouraging individual environmental stewardship and connection with the land. To learn more about enSprout, visit www.ensprout.life.
“enSprout was so excited to see all of the amazing neighbors at our inaugural event! We had a terrific turnout and thank the community and our partners for helping us plant the new garden,” says Co-Founder, Joi Howard. Come visit the new garden located at Swann Park on the corner of Swinburne Ave and Crofton Parkway. You’ll find the garden at the base of the gravel pathway off of Swinburne, marked with a sign that reads, “Welcome to a Native Garden”.