Pollinator Garden is a Buzzing Attraction

January 14, 2019

Volunteers helped Golden Harvest Project Facilitator Ashley Gutierrez-Siler construct the raised beds for The Master’s Table Soup Kitchen Garden’s pollinator garden.

Nestled along the wall of muscadine vines, right behind the herb garden is The Master’s Table Garden’s newest home for garden-friendly bug of all kinds – a pollinator garden.

‘A pollinator is an insect that pollinates plants,” said Ashley Gutierrez-Siler, Golden Harvest’s project manager. “The idea is that it will attract good insects – bees, lacewings, ladybugs, aphids.”

The new pollinator garden mimics the design of the herb garden next to it: four square raised beds forming a larger square with a fifth raised bed laid as a diamond across the top.

Members of the Dental College of Georgia chapter of the American Association of Women Dentists spent a Saturday morning helping to build the raised beds, roll out netting and begin hauling wheelbarrows full of top soil over to the new garden. The following week, members of the Watson Brown Foundation finished adding top soil and planted flowers and shrubs.

“It was physically taxing – I was tired,” said Melanie Rosier, alumni relations and social media coordinator for Watson Brown. “But then you think about the impact of the insects that it will bring in and the food that will grow and it’s really cool.”

The pollinator garden is filled with dark night caryopteris, asters, echinacea, dianthys, anemones, alliums and other plants picked for their pollinator-attracting blooms. There’s also a cover crop of clover which grows quickly to provide a green base for the garden, but can then be tilled under to add nutrients back to the soil.

Pollinators are also welcome to make a home in the ‘bee hotel’ filled with rods and spheres of different shapes and sizes to accommodate different insects’ preferences.

The new pollinator garden is beautiful but also serves an environmental purpose. Attracting more good insects to the garden helps eliminate the need for chemical pesticides and fertilizers, Gutierrez-Siler said. Golden Harvest avoids using chemicals in the garden to protect the nutrient value of the food grown there.

“The idea is, you invite in aphids then they will eat ants that feed on your garden so you end up with more nutritious food.”