GMD: Pollinator garden tours


BERLIN, Md. – The Lower Shore Land Trust is giving community members a look at eight different pollinator-friendly gardens in hopes of encouraging others to create their gardens which in turn help the environment.

With a mission of making the lower Eastern Shore more pollinator-friendly, gardeners of all levels are using their green thumbs to help. “So you get a taste of the lower shore and you get a taste of the types of gardens that you can create in your backyard or on your farm,” says Kate Patton, Executive Director of the Lower Shore Land Trust. She adds, “When you are not planning something native and you have all turf grass and you have species that rely on native plants and bugs and all of that to survive, we’re not providing that food. We’re not only losing the insects but we’re losing the birds that rely on them.”

The Lower Shore Land Trust partnered with eight different pollinator-friendly gardens throughout Worcester, Somerset, and Wicomico County, and on June 24th and 25th community members can visit these gardens.

47 ABC got a chance to preview two of them and got the inside scoop on how these gardens are helping the environment. “The type of work around pollinators is just so important, we can’t rely on our farmers for everything but we’ve got a lot of space and a lot of area in our suburban yards and also in town,” says Patton. “I just dug up all the grass and said to heck with it and added lots of plants. I have hyssop and tall garden flocks which are very necessary for a pollinator garden,” says Georgianna McElroy, owner of one of the pollinator gardens on the tour. McElroy adds, “You learn something new every time you garden, I’m a master gardener but I don’t know everything.”

Pollinator gardens include native plants which attract pollinators like butterflies, bees, ladybugs, and much more. These gardens support and maintain those pollinators by supplying food in the form of pollen and nectar which will ensure these creatures stay in the area to keep pollinating our crops. “Bees, bumblebees, butterflies, I saw a swallow tail, a butterfly recently, and the monarchs are all over this. So I feel like I’m contributing to their health on their way back to Mexico when they go,” says McElroy.

Master gardeners like McElroy say it’s not difficult to start your garden, it just takes a little patience and the willingness to learn. “These plants are no fuss, you put them in good soil and they take care of themselves,” says McElroy. She adds, “The pollinators invite good insects and take care of the bad ones so if you do it right, you don’t need sprays, you don’t need insecticides. You invite the pollinators in, they take care of everything.”

About 10 minutes up the road is Mariner’s Country Down, owned by Reggie Mariner, it’s a larger meadow pollinator garden. “This property was originally a farm, Jarvis family farm that my father purchased back in the 70s,” says one of Mariner’s daughters, Beth Sheppard. She adds, “He had another person who wanted to do some organic farming because no one had farmed here so that was the benefit was that we could actually then qualify because no one had brought in any pesticides or treatment for over five years.

Now this larger area will welcome Marylanders to see the natural ways to attract pollinators on a larger scale. “It’s not all just about what can be pretty you know. And to see it come being used by other people and being productive which was his dream all along, it’s satisfying to see,” says Sheppard.

Gardeners and organizers tell us, that this is all in the hopes of inspiring others to do their part in welcoming pollinators, and in turn helping the environment. “We can’t just have a few people going a good deed, this is really important at some point we need to see that our nurseries and our greenhouses and our garden centers are featuring these as priority plants,” says Patton. McElroy adds, “For people who feel overwhelmed by it, they can start with just a little patch or put their pollinators in pots and contribute that way.”

Tickets are $25 in advance for the pollinator garden tours on Friday, June 24th, and Saturday, June 25th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and $30 at the door, and we’re told the tours are self-guided.

For more information and ticket sales, click here.

Categories: Good Morning Delmarva, Local News, Maryland