The garden is located near the entrance of the dog park, in a triangular section formed by a convergence of several trails. Measuring roughly 50 feet on each side, the site is anchored by an oak tree and high-bush cranberry, with a patch of Solomon's Seal already present.
A grant through the Dane County Environmental Council funded over 200 live plants, a bilingual interpretive sign and its mounting frame, and plant identification signage. Dane County Parks provided a water tank and the wood chips for mulch. The Prairie Moraine Friends volunteers provided the labor and other plants and materials used in the planning (2019) and creation (2020) of the garden, and will be maintaining it as well.
See something you like? Planning your own pollinator garden? Agrecol, the same vendor used by UW-Extension for this program, also sells native Wisconsin plants to private individuals.
of native Wisconsin wildflowers. Special care was taken to ensure that something will always be blooming in the garden, from early Spring til late Fall. Plants were selected with an eye to attracting and supporting a full range of native pollinators including butterflies, birds, and bees.
The pollinator garden as it appeared in early August 2020.
Prairie plants concentrate on root growth the first couple of years so they are not going to reach maturity this first summer, but they are all doing well.
Garden site before cleanup.
The actual layout varied somewhat from the plan, partly because it was decided to locate the large sign on the west corner of the garden rather than the southern. Also, the diagram shown above includes only the plants ordered through the grant program. Once all of those were planted, more room was left than expected, so an additional 10 species were ordered and planted.
The final selection was made to include flowers that covered the blooming season, from early spring to late fall. Many were chosen from the list of those being planted from seed in the park as part of the Dane County Parks Natural Areas Program. Also consulted were recommendations from the Xerces Society, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and "Supporting Native Bees - Our Essential Pollinators," UW Extension publication G4001.
The template (A) allowed for experimentation, aided in estimating the number of plants that would fit, and helped in their selection and placement according to height and light requirements. Shorter plants went along the edges, so as not to obstruct the view of taller ones, shade tolerant plants could be placed nearer the oak tree, including some that preferred an oak canopy.
Mapping the site, showing what was already there and was to be kept, helped tremendously in planning the garden.
Highlighted in red on the map.