A is for Allium; B is for….

Have you ever wondered what the name of a plant was? Or been interested in what kind of flower a plant produced? If so, Catskill may just have the right garden for you!

Newly installed at Leggio Park on Main Street in the Village of Catskill is an Alphabet and Pollinator Garden. For the last few years, Cultivate Catskill planted a vegetable garden in the raised beds of this pocket park. This year, we decided to do something different.

America in Bloom, an organization that comes to Catskill and judges our gardens, parks, historic preservation, urban forests and the overall impression of our community, had suggested for the last couple of years that we install a pollinator garden. When visiting Fort Ticonderoga last summer, one of our members stumbled upon an alphabet garden which was both a demonstration garden and an educational vehicle to help visitors learn about gardening. This triggered the idea of trying this approach locally.

The planning started last year which led to the planting of tulips (T) and daffodils (D) last fall. Daffodils are members of the Narcissus family which is why you’ll also see them planted by the letter ‘N’. Coneflowers (C), also known by their Botanical name Echinacea (E), were also planted last fall in addition to other perennials (e.g salvia, sedum, sea holly (S), hosta (H), iris (I), lavender (L), yarrow (Y) and monarda (M) –which is commonly known as bee balm (B)).

Over the last week, more plants have been added including pansies, petunias, phlox and portulaca (P), zinnias and zebra grass (Z), geraniums and Gaillardia (G), Joe Pye Weed (J), knautia (K), verbena (V), among others. Seeds have been sown for Queen Anne’s Lace (L), nasturtium (N), and four o’clocks (F) so it will take some time before you will see them germinate and flower. X is for xeriscaping plants (those that thrive in dry conditions) so there you will eventually find Yucca, Mallow and beardtongue added to the ice plants that are already there.

Many of these plants are pollinator friendly which means that birds, bees and butterflies feed of the nectar that the flowers produce. Thus, you’ll get a chance to learn about plants, enjoy the flowers and watch the pollinators all during the same visit.

Cultivate Catskill invites you to visit our new garden and return frequently as the plants grow, mature and flower for your enjoyment.

Over the next few weeks, watch for the flowers that will start to appear in the planters on Main Street as well as the return of the hanging baskets that will add a touch of beauty to our community over the summer months. In addition, look for a scavenger hunt that’s been created for children to enjoy the Alphabet and Pollinator garden too. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

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