Several dedicated volunteers kicked off Memorial Day weekend by planting more than 500 native wildflowers along the Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT) near Sharp Hill Rd. to create a diverse habitat for native bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Under the guidance of the Wilton Pollinator Pathway and with the generous support of the Norwalk River Watershed Association, the high-value native plant species specifically chosen by scientists at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation will provide food and cover to hungry pollinators from spring to fall.
Volunteers spread mulch and dug holes for the 15 species of native plants grown by Pinelands Nursery, NJ as part of a generous grant from the Xerces Society. Included are pollinator favorites such as the lovely rose milkweed, host plant for monarch butterfly caterpillars; the fall-blooming New England aster; and Joe Pye Weed, a mighty giant growing up to 8 ft. tall. Besides providing nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies, the garden will attract birds too to eat the insects and seeds.
“We are so grateful to our volunteers for helping us plant this space, and to the Xerces Society and Pineland Nursery for making this project possible,” said Donna Merrill, of the Wilton Pollinator Pathway Steering Committee. “We hope this site will raise awareness of the need to create habitat for our threatened native bees, butterflies and birds, not only in public spaces, but also in our own backyards.”
The native planting and pesticide free zone along the NRVT will be used as a teaching garden. Visitors hiking the trail will be able to observe the succession of bloom across the seasons and take home ideas for their own garden. Homeowners will notice the effective use of massed plantings and flowing design to reduce the need to weed and mulch while adding strong visual appeal.
To learn more about what to plant for monarch butterflies and other pollinators, visit the Xerces Society website. Find out more about the Pollinator Pathway movement and what to do to support bees and butterflies locally on the Pollinator Pathway website. To participate in other volunteer opportunities, visit the
Interested in participating in activities like this? Visit the Norwalk River Watershed Association events page. Visit the Norwalk River Valley Trail website to support the NRVT.