Blue Mt 4H Nationally Recognized


Come see the Nationally Recognized Pollinator Gardens at the Schuylkill County Fairgrounds and learn how you can put a pollinator garden in your own back yard. Fair is open to the public July 30 – August 4, 2018. (Photo by: Kim Morgan)

Congratulations goes out to the members Blue Mt. 4-H Livestock Club under the direction of Jill Felty and Kim Morgan for being awarded first place nationally for the Pollinator Garden that they planted at the Schuylkill County Fairgrounds.  The garden was recognized as a first place recipient by The Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania.  The pollinator garden then went on to be recognized as a first place winner at the National level as a pollinator garden by the National Federation of Garden Clubs.

The garden has gone under an expansion for 2018.  Gardens have been added to the north and south side of the Horticulture building to provide a wraparound effect more befitting to the landscape of the building.  The pollinator garden can be seen this year in the three phases of its development.  A mature garden, which was established a number of years ago under the direction of June Leiby along with the pollinator garden put in last year.  The gardens phase three is the newly establish growth put in this last spring.  There could be a fourth phase in that part of the garden where it was disturbed over the winter so the Fair could put in a new waterline.  The garden was repaired but then the rain came and flooded the grounds. Where the root system of plants were not established, the garden lost valuable top soil.   That area has been partially reestablished

So the garden as all gardens are a work in progress.

The Blue Mt. 4-H Livestock Club built a pollinator garden at the Schuylkill County Fairgrounds.  On the west side of the Horticulture Building a 60 by 10 foot garden was developed with many native plants, trees and shrubs.  The garden was developed to provide a nurturing environment for native pollinators.  The pollinator garden was cultivated, enriched and planted by club members under the direction of members of the South Schuylkill Garden Club.  The South Schuylkill Garden Club supplied many of the plants found within the garden.  Funding for the garden were provided through grants from many sources with a significant contribution made from the Schuylkill Area Community Foundation who is celebrating their 50th  year of service to the community last year.

So why would a 4-H livestock club develop a pollinator garden you ask?  The 4-H’ers understand the need for pollinators to assist in the supply for the food we all enjoy.  The members of the livestock club understand that alfalfa which is a legume that almost all of their animals need to eat as part of a healthy diet.  Alfalfa would not exist without pollinators.  The need for pollinators is so great in other parts of the country that Bee Colonies are moved across the country from field to field to pollinate alfalfa.  Enhancing an environment for natural pollinators in our area just makes sense.  It is a hope that after seeing the garden that people go home and develop gardens in their own yards big or small that promote natural pollinators.

Inspirations for the Pollinator Garden came from the late June Leiby.  June loved flowers.  She shared her love for flowers with others.  She was the driving force behind the Lewistown Valley Garden Club.  The club members of the Lewistown Valley have been exhibiting floral exhibits at the Fair for many, many years.  June’s passing in 2016 left a void in the garden club community.    It is with a sad heart that a tree will be dedicated in her honor.  The tree is a fountain Beech. Unfortunately the tree did not survive the winter and a new one will be reestablished again this fall.

The Blue Mt. 4-H Livestock Club is grateful to the South Schuylkill Garden Club for the direction and plants.  The club would also like to thank the Schuylkill Area Community Foundation for the financial commitment that made this project possible.  Also, thank you to Pine Creek Country Garden Center for landscaping materials and advice.    Of course none of this would not have happened if Jane Kruse of the South Schuylkill Garden Club and Kim Morgan had not skillfully planned out the project.

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