Like many other Mid-westerners, I made my way to our local county fair last night for some good food and a look at the 4H projects. My mom accompanied me and as we wandered around, we saw a lot of things you’d expect to see at the fair: animals, quilts, funnel cakes…and then we stumbled upon something not so expected: a pollinator garden! In between two conservation buildings, where there once was just grass and dirt, our community planted perennial flowers known to draw in pollinators. What’s more is they labeled all of the plants and added in bee sculptures and signs to help inform people on the importance of pollinators.
I love that the county took a part of the fairgrounds that was overlooked and made it into something special. I recognized a lot of the flowers they had planted, such as beebalm, coneflowers, black eyed susans and joe pye weed. There were a lot there that I didn’t recognize but thanks to the labeling I was able to see what it was: Himalayan Indigo, Appalachian Indigo-bush, Apricot Sprite Hyssop and more. I even found a bumble bee on some of the Himalayan Indigo! If you would like to learn what plants attract pollinators that would do well in your region, check out this free plant resource on Pollinators.org.
As we walked around we found some really cool signs to help educate people on what pollinators do, what pollinators are native to Indiana what goes into a pollinator habitat. One sign was from the conservationists, one was from NOAA and the other was from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
We also overheard a mother walking with her 4 daughters in tow, saying how pollinators were important. The youngest one affirmed, “they provide the food we eat!” I was so happy to hear that they knew why pollinators are important. This public space helped start a conversation about pollinators and instead of children running away in fear of bees, they were exploring the garden hoping to find some.
Towards the back of the garden, there were benches to sit on, a water garden and compost bins. I haven’t been to our local county fair in years, so I am not sure how new the pollinator garden is. I am just happy to have it in our community for people to enjoy and hopefully learn a couple of tips to attract pollinators to their own yard. Find a pollinator garden near you by checking out this map from Pollinators.org.