During the recent NOFA Summer Conference, Lisa, Kate and I had the chance to tour That’s A Plenty Farm and Pollinator Habitat in Hadley, Massachusetts. We drove near the Connecticut River where it makes numerous twists and turns and creates pockets of old field, high-terrace floodplain forest.
There a very special three-acre environment has been created by Cathy and Michael Katz, who live on the property in a Tiny House from May to November. Tom Sullivan, graduate of the Conway School of Landscape Design, laid out the property and suggested the plant varieties. The garden was established in 2007 so is now coming into its own. Well before the surge of interest in pollinators, I might add!
Pollinator habitat requires clusters of at least 3 different flowering plants for early, mid and late season bloom. Clusters mean bees can feed without expending too much energy to travel. Both nesting habitat and nectar/pollen sources have been considered in the choice of plants.
We walked through plots of nursery stock plants, all natives, that supply seed that is collected, dried and sold yearly over the internet or to farm visitors. Many were in full bloom, offering inspiring arrays of color, texture and form. We then continued on to the planted meadows where many of the same plants have been integrated. Mowed paths offered easy access to see pollinators at work on Partridge Pea, Goldenrod, Queen Anne’s Lace and Sunflower.
Coming away with hundreds of ideas for plant combinations and designs, we plan to return to enjoy the garden earlier in the season to see another whole plant palette!