By Cynda Williams
Special to the Neighb News
Dreams sometimes come true, and this one is a work-in-progress. Merilee Kelly, Acushnet Conservation Agent, started seeing the impact that intensive development was having in Acushnet. Fields were developed into houses and lawns, resulting in pollinator habitat eradication.
In 2014, she began to develop her own dream, one that would create a place for pollinators to live, breed and mature. A place where flowering plants offer food, shelter and safety, without pesticides.
In case you are unfamiliar with the term “pollinator,” it includes insects, birds, bees and butterflies. Not all blooming plants are “cultivated.” Some are established in our wild flora & fauna. Prime examples are Dandelions, Goldenrods, Milkweed and Asters.
In 2014, Merilee and the Conservation Commission worked with the Town of Acushnet to create a Pollinator garden. The idea was approved by the town and a location was found for the garden.
Merilee began planting her pollinator garden on the corner of Main Street at the entrance of the Acushnet River Valley Golf Course. Spring of 2015 brought much-needed assistance from the Acushnet Highway Department who cleared brush and created stone paths.
Merilee chooses what to plant and is reimbursed from the town for her expenses. Summer of 2015 brought many plant donations from local residents as they divided their garden perennials.
The potted donations lined up, all needing watering and planting. However, a greater challenge arose, WEEDS. Growing in all possible areas, the weed seeds sprouted and noxious weed roots spread. Merilee asked for volunteers, some came, few returned. No one wants to pull weeds.
Merilee kept her tools in her car, since there was nowhere to store them at the garden. In spring 2016, the donation of a potting shed, moved by the Highway Department to the garden, solved the storage challenge.
The drought of 2016 kept Merilee busy with watering and planting perennials. Anyone driving by the garden this past spring saw flowering bulbs blooming. This summer brought flowering perennial blooms for pollinators of every kind.
This fall, the garden is a beautiful place to sit and watch the butterflies flitting around the blossoms. Cosmos and Buddleia bloom with abandon and a host of pollinators thrives.
This dream needs more hands to continue blooming into the future.
Fall is upon us and volunteers are needed to put the garden to bed. Mulching is needed to preserve the plants from winter’s ravages.
Are there any volunteers who will help fulfill this dream?
Please contact Acushnet Conservation Agent Merilee Kelley at 508-998-0202 and leave a message with your contact information.
Support local journalism, donate to the Neighb News at: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=Y6V5ARRYH689G
Click here to download the entire 10/26/17 issue: 10-26-17 HalloweenTrail