Pollinator garden opens in Marlborough’s Ghiloni Park


Pollinator garden opens in Marlborough’s Ghiloni Park
Girl Scouts Skylar Monahan (left) and Gabriella Casto were instrumental in planting a Pollination Preservation Garden at Ghiloni Park in Marlborough. (Photo/Submitted)

MARLBOROUGH – Things are buzzing around Ghiloni Park in Marlborough thanks to two Girl Scouts, city staff and members of the Sudbury Valley Trustees.

City residents using the park’s track or soccer fields may notice a new addition near the pond and running track – a Pollination Preservation Garden providing appropriate plants that will serve as food for native at-risk butterflies and bumble bees.

Ghiloni Park was ideal location

An avid gardener himself, Paul Goldman learned from a meeting of the Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) that Karin Paquin, the current president, was pursuing the idea of a pollinator garden. He immediately volunteered to help.

Potential sites were evaluated, keeping in mind that there should be a natural source for water.

An additional criterion was the overall visibility of the garden.

“We wanted a place where people naturally congregated, not only to showcase the plants but to enlighten people as to how they can do it in their own backyard, even if it’s only with
a few native plants,” Goldman said.

Ghiloni Park seemed to check all the boxes.

So, Paquin, Goldman and Marlborough Conservation Commissioner Priscilla Ryder began bringing the idea to fruition.

Girl Scouts parlay project into Silver Award

As plans for the garden moved forward, Girl Scouts Gabriella Casto and Skylar Monahan were looking for suggestions for projects that would help them earn their Silver Award.

They approached Ryder for a list, and soon they were helping to plant and mulch the new garden.

The girls also designed and wrote an educational pamphlet in conjunction with The Native Pollinator Task Force and the MetroWest Conservation Alliance.

As part of the Silver Award guidelines, Girl Scouts must educate at least fifty people and do fifty hours of community service.

In line with that, at the official opening of the Pollination Preservation Garden late last month, the scouts were busy explaining the concept of saving the bumble bees and butterflies to attendees and handing out packets of Bee Balm flower seeds with their pamphlets.

Now, they’re planning to help water the garden throughout the summer.

They, in turn, are encouraging neighbors to plant their own gardens to help build what they describe as a “pollinator pathway” throughout the city to help pollinators move and grow their population.

Marlborough joins pollinator push

While a first in Marlborough, this garden joins other efforts elsewhere in the region.

Girl Scouts in Shrewsbury recently helped build a new pollinator garden within the town’s Lake Street Park.

In Southborough, a years-long effort has yielded an expansive pollinator habitat within the Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in town.

Marlborough’s own pollinator garden, meanwhile, was supported with grant money through the larger group Keep Massachusetts Beautiful.

Paquin, who also serves on the Marlborough Conservation Commission, coordinated that grant application, winning $250 to go toward buying native plants back in November.

Forty-nine varieties of bumble bees

Goldman went on to note that many people believe that honey bees are native pollinators. In reality, the common honey bee is a non-native species from Europe.

Locally, meanwhile, there are forty-nine distinct types of native bumble bees, and each may only be attracted to one type of plant, based on its tongue length for gathering pollen.

Goldman’s suggestion is that beginners interested in supporting pollinators choose a few native plants and pick an area in their yard for their own pollination garden.

“We want this to appear user-friendly for beginners,” he said.

In the meantime, the Ghiloni Park garden is open and located at 237 Concord Road.

Visitors can access the garden by entering the walking track near the park’s exercise equipment area.

A cement path leads to the garden, which has good southern exposure and which will remain unfenced until local animals cause problems.


Marlborough plans pollinator preservation garden at Ghiloni Park

Shrewsbury Girl Scouts build new pollinator garden

Legislators celebrate Pollinator Week