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Students Discover the Benefits of a Native Garden

SayreNativeGardens
Barb Milosch
SayreNativeGardens

Over the last few years, Middle School students worked hard to establish a proper native plant garden behind the Parker House, the Middle School art building. First, students pulled weeds and non-native cultivars from the space, a challenging task given the size of the garden. Then, when fall arrived, they planted the roots collected from donations and placed surveyor’s flags to mark the sites. The garden looked unimpressive at this stage, but the first plants began to bloom when summer arrived. In succeeding years, the students added more cultivars. There are over twenty, including Black-eyed Susans, Purple Coneflower, Sensitive Fern, Buttonbush, Joe-Pye weed, Grayhead Coneflower, Blazing Star, and Culver’s Root. Once the plants drop their leaves and begin to wither, students prune them low. Over time, the blooms spread quickly, and then the work entails removing parts of plants to ensure against overcrowding. Weeding is a regular task. Native plants attract bees, butterflies, and birds for their pollen, nectar, and seeds—all good for increased pollination and distribution. They also help reduce runoff and require less water than other plants. The garden provides a habitat for wildlife and promotes biodiversity. The garden is now flourishing!