“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need”. -Cicero
On June 5th, 2021 a group of Manatee County Master Gardener Volunteers came together with community members and library staff to install a pollinator garden at the public library in Palmetto, FL. The planting day was a culmination of months of preparation, planning and partnerships.
Gardens provide outdoor space for children and library customers to sit peacefully, engage with nature and participate in after-school STEM activities. Library gardens become a focal point, one of beauty and pride for the community and volunteers who support it. Research indicates that the presence of a garden at a library can increase engagement with a broad diversity of community members and provide youth with valuable nature experiences.
The Palmetto Library garden grew from conversations between library staff and UF/IFAS Extension staff and volunteers. Master Gardener Volunteers with expertise in native and pollinator gardens helped to design, select plants and suggest grant funding opportunities. The library plans to use this space to offer reading programs, gardening programs, yoga and meditation workshops and more. This partnership has led to ongoing children’s gardening programs and other community engagement opportunities. Master Gardeners and library volunteers will help to maintain the garden with help from local school groups. Plants were selected to provide a haven for pollinators and provide year-round color or interest.
Pollinator populations have been in decline over the past few decades, many reasons exist for this decline including; habitat fragmentation, pesticide use and global climate change. Pollinators provide a wide suite of environmental services including providing necessary pollination of food crops. Not to mention that our hundreds of species of native bees and butterflies are beautiful! To support healthy pollinator populations a landscape should provide nectar plants, larval host plants, water and cover.
To learn more about butterfly/pollinator gardens read this article.
To learn how to install a pollinator garden in your landscape, check out this video.