The Pollinator Garden
Humans, in service to God, have special roles on behalf of the whole of creation. Made in the image of God, we are called to care for the earth as God cares for the earth.
According to Genesis 2:15, our role within creation is to serve and to keep God’s garden, the earth. “To serve,” often translated “to till,” invites us again to envision ourselves as servants, while “to keep” invites us to take care of the earth as God keeps and cares for us (Numbers 6:24-26).
Such caring, serving, keeping, loving, and living by wisdom sum up what is meant by acting as God’s stewards of the earth.
- from the ELCA Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice
It’s about that time of year when many people get anxiously worried about how their gardens and flowerbeds “look.”
Image is often of paramount concern to human beings and that tends to spill over into many areas of life…even plants. How a garden “looks,” however, is never the focus of a pollinator garden. What happens with the life inside is what truly counts. What appears as refuse to us is a refuge to hundreds of species of creatures that God placed on this earth. Overwintering chrysalises attach to structures and stems beneath dead branches. Many bee species, solitary wasps, and various moths find respite from the cold of winter in the hollow stems of bygone plants. Some Queen bumblebees even burrow into the ground and rely on a coverage of leaf debris to keep the ground warm when temperatures drop.
If you drive into the parking lot at church and wonder, “What is going on with our garden,” the simple answer is, “Exactly what God intended.”
As we wait patiently for God to bring forth new life, we honor the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3 when he writes, “[God] has made everything beautiful in its time.”
So, praise the decay! Wait patiently and know that when our KOG gardening team sees God’s presence of new life in the fluttering of butterflies, the flight of numerous bees and wasps, and the marching of beetles, then, and only then, will we clean up our garden for spring. Typical timetable clean-ups usually happen in mid-March, so we are almost there! If you are interested in helping with projects in our pollinator garden, please contact me, Amanda Schulz, at .
Be still, and know that I am the Lord. Psalm 46:10
As of June 29,2023, we officially have a new species in our garden! A gorgeous Salt Marsh caterpillar (commonly known as a Woolly Bear) was happily savoring the tender leaves of our Cowpen Daisy. These are massive caterpillars, at full maturity, measuring up to 2 inches in length. The caterpillars are tricky because they can be a very light straw color, like the one shown, or even dark black with some orange. The tell-tale signs are the “woolly” nature and that a few hairs on the caterpillar will be longer at the head and the tail. This caterpillar will turn into the beautiful moth shown in the included (copy-written) photo by Sharon Watson for BugGuide.net. See if you can spot any Woollies the next time you pass by the garden!
The pollinator crew added an arbor as a structure for our Bluecrown Passionflower Vine. This is a host plant for the Gulf Fritillary caterpillar. We were also excited to find two Fritillary chrysalises during the workday. Now that we have a species actively completing all stages of a life-cycle within our garden, we are only one step away from receiving a National Wildlife Federation certified habitat plaque at KOG!
Our last step will be to include a water source within the garden. Discussions regarding the addition will happen in the next several months with the hope of earning our certification in 2024.
We have many different species of plants in our garden, including:
In Fall 2022, we had our first Monarchs visit and lay eggs on the Butterfly Weed.
How we got started...
Pre-pandemic, church leadership worked with KOG member Amanda Schulz to design a pollinator garden with the eventual goal of placing it on the National Wildlife Federation registry as a designated wildlife habitat.
Church member volunteers worked together to remove multiple loads of stones from the site. A professional landscaping company then came in and replenished the site with good soil and installed the Liriope border. Several workdays in the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022 brought the installation of plants, sown seeds, and spreading of mulch. A few of the plants were purchased, but most were donated by volunteers, church members, or transplants. To volunteer or donate plants, contact Amanda Schulz at .
Get to know Amanda and Jon Schulz -
KOG members, Amanda and Jon, have been beekeeping since 2018 and started a company, Blackland Bees, dedicated to honey bee rescue, education, conservation, and pollination services. Learn more on their Facebook page and in an NBC 5 story!
Join us for a workday!
- Check back for opportunities to work together in March -