Pollinator Garden Planting at HCC Sustainability Day

October 2021

Howard Community College had its 15th annual Sustainability Day on Oct 20, 2021, from 10 am to 8 pm. The date of the event is significant, indicating that Earth Day is exactly 6 months away.

This year’s Sustainability Day included a combination of in-person and virtual activities, in contrast to last year’s entirely virtual event, due to COVID-19. This year, there were a variety of workshops, zoom videos, and exhibits, along with flower planting, canned food collections, and even a vegan food demonstration with samples.

During the event, the Howard County Office of Community Sustainability took part in the planting of six pollinator garden beds along Howard Community College’s new Pollinator Trail. The planting was a collaborative effort between multiple environmental leaders in Howard County, including Howard Community College, Howard County Master Gardeners, Howard County Bee City, Howard EcoWorks, Audubon Society of Central Maryland, Sierra Club, Howard County Bird Club, and Chesapeake Conservation Corps. The six new pollinator gardens add to the three that were completed in the spring when the Pollinator Trail project launched.

The garden beds feature a variety of native plants that bloom throughout the spring, summer, and fall, including:

-Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea)

-Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

– Narrow-leaved mountain mint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium)

-Golden fleece Goldenrod (Solidago sphacelata)

– Aromatic Aster (Symphyotrichum aromatica)

– Eastern bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana)

-Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata)

-Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

– Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)

– Penstemon (Penstemon digitalis)

– Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

– Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)

– Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

-Gray Goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis)

-Calico Aster (Symphyotrichum laterifolium)

These native plants will provide pollen and nectar sources to a variety of pollinators throughout their life cycle. In addition, these plants help control erosion, filter stormwater runoff, and sequester carbon in the soil.

The Sustainability Day plantings are just one of many ways that Howard County Government and local environmental non-profits help bees and other pollinators that are in decline. Howard County became a Bee City in 2019 and committed to raising awareness about the importance of pollinators and educating the public on how to protect them.

See pictures from the event here and learn more about planting for pollinators at https://livegreenhoward.com/land/pollinators/.