by Melanie Jongsma
LANSING, Ill. (June 27, 2020) – Before the heat of the day set in on Saturday, June 20, 19 members of the Lansing Garden Club met at the Mildred Burt Nature Center to install seven pollinator gardens around the pond within the wooded area. Work preparing the site had begun already last year, and the group continued this year once COVID restrictions were eased.
After spending June 5 and 6 moving and mixing yards of EQ compost and topsoil, the club spread it into seven mounds that would serve as individual gardens populated with species that attract and support bees, butterflies, birds, beetles, and bats. The compost is a free resource provided by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.
Diane Lund leads the Lansing Garden Club, and she worked with Nancy Kreith of the University of Illinois Extension Office to choose native plants and develop the planting schematics. Kreith has a Bachelor degree in Landscape Architecture, and native plants and pollinators are one of her research interests. Lund and Kreith decided on a mix of 231 plants that included Big Bluestem grasses, Purple Milkweed, Showy Goldenrod, and other native species. The selections include plants that will do well in full sun, partial sun, and the wet soil around the pond.
Because of the number of Garden Club members who were available, the work of planting 231 plants went fast. Most people worked for about two hours, and a few stayed longer to water the new gardens.
The Lansing Garden Club also plans to install a Chimney Swift Tower on the west side of the Mildred Burt Nature Center. The tower was built in sections by Rich Lund, in the hopes of installing it early enough for the spring arrival of swifts to the area. But with the parks placed under quarantine in March, those plans were delayed, and the tower sections are currently in storage. Diane Lund is hopeful that when the tower is installed this fall, swifts will notice it during their migration to Peru for the winter, and next spring they will find it again and summer there.
The Mildred Burt Nature Center is located to the north of the Eisenhower Center parking lot. The Eisenhower Center is located at 2550 178th Street in Lansing.