b'12 green living tips809Est 1ommissioncBee-coming a Community Pollinator GardenGardens designed for pollinators provide many benefits: beauty, pleasant scents, habitat and food for a variety of pollinators, and the sustainability of requiring fewer chemicals to maintain. As members of the Bee City USA Ashland (BCUA) team, we talk to a lot of people about pollinators and gardens, and sometimes we help create gardens, as in the Riverwalk neighborhood.Carolyn Hunsaker, a resident of Riverwalk, asked the BCUA committee about the possibility of creating a pollinator garden in a small pocket park owned by Ashland Parks and Recreation in the Riverwalk neighborhood. The area was full of invasive weeds like crab and Bermuda grass, and the Homeowners Association wanted to improve the area. BCUA jumped at the chance to help create a pollinator garden in the park, with an added bonus that Carolyn joined our BCUA team!What did we do? (You can too!)Team up! Homeowners, neighbors, BCUA members and Park staff started planning the garden in 2018Sheet mulch: In the summer of 2018, we applied cardboard and wood chips to some zones to discourage weeds Solarize: First, the crab grasses were cut very short, then the area was sprayed with diluted molasses to encourage beneficial soil nutrients and organisms. Finally, we covered the grass with plastic to block light and create heat over the summerTop it off: We added top soil to the planting beds and decomposed granite for the pathway. A thin layer of wood chips will be added to the beds to protect them until they are planted in the spring of 2020 Gratitude: The Riverwalk homeowners have provided funds and volunteers.A Grant from the Ashland Parks Foundation helped to purchase plants, path edging, and new irrigation materialsAn album illustrating the transformation of the Riverwalk park to date can be found at Ashland.or.us/BeeCity. The Riverwalk homeowners will take care of this new pollinator garden through the Ashland Parks and Recreation, Adopt-a-Park Program. Learn about volunteer opportunities at ashland.or.us/Volunteer.One of the goals of this project was to increase connectivity between a network of pollinator landscapes. With the addition of the Riverwalk park, there are now three certified BCUA pollinator gardens within a three-block area. Pollinator landscapes in close proximity are important because many insects cannot travel long distances to find food and shelter. We encourage residents to look around their neighborhoods for opportunities to become part of a pollinator garden network. Team up with your friends and neighbors to transform un-loved, weedy pockets of land into thriving pollinator gardens!AshlandParksandRec.org | Instagram or Facebook @AshlandParksandRec | ParksInfo@ashland.or.us 39'