Pardon our dirt… You may have noticed some work being done to the east ramp area this fall. The Gesu Green Team is excited to announce that they are implementing a native plant garden in that space. This project heeds the call by Pope Francis to protect and be good stewards of our environment. It will also help to alleviate pressure by the Water and Sewerage Department to find solutions to capture and retain storm water onsite.
Native plants are those that evolved in a geographic area and grow naturally in that region without extra fertilization or watering. They are resistant to plant diseases and are beneficial to the insects and animals of the region. The Gesu garden will include a Redbud tree (coming Spring 2018) and which will be surrounded by native plants including Black Eyed Susans, coneflower, yarrow, butterfly weed, foxglove, and many others.
To prepare the soil this winter, the Green Team spread humus from a local compost pile. Then they planted Buckwheat to provide ground cover while fixing nitrogen deep down in the ground. It was planted on October 7th and has already sprouted. In the spring, the ground cover will be dug into the soil and will be replaced with a beautiful array of native plants.
Some of the many benefits to using native plants, include:
- Reduced need for water, fertilizer, and pesticides because the plants are adapted to the environmental conditions
- Attracting beneficial insects and birds such as bees and other pollinators by providing food and habitat
- Retaining water on-site to reduce the impact on municipal water systems
- Reducing the need to mow, thereby reducing fossil fuel use and expense
- Serving as a carbon sink, especially if longliving trees are present
- Last but not least, beautification of an area.
Further questions about the garden, or inquiries about how to get involved, can be directed to Sr. Angela Hibbard at [email protected]