Nurturing our grounds with native plants

Members of the Environmental Stewardship Committee began their Memorial weekend by focusing on the future and planting a variety of native species on the earth island at the north side of the parking lot.

There is a purpose for planting Missouri flora, said Deb Grossman who organized the project.

“If you don’t plant native plants, you don’t get butterflies and moths, and butterflies and moths attract birds. They are a significant source of protein for them,” she said.

She said the plants beautify the property but also have an added value.

“We’re putting in something that helps the environment, that does some good for our world as well. We’re tending God’s garden.”

Included in the flora were low mound chokeberry bushes, prairie dropseed, coreopsis, Liatris “blazing star” and echinacea – purple coneflower.

Deb said she is grateful to the crew that came out for the planting.

“The next time you see them, give a hearty ‘thank you’ to Laurie Goodfellow, Jean Magre and John Castagno for their hard work…” Deb said.

The group dug up the weeds and prepped the soil on the 35 by 10 feet strip of land, she said.

“I’m especially grateful to Jean Magre for roto-tilling the area for us. I cannot imagine doing all of this by hand with a shovel,” Deb said.

The native plants in the group also were chosen because they are low growing and won’t interfere with a driver’s line of sight. They can withstand dry summer conditions and the effects of winter salt, Deb said.

“What you may not remember is that these plants were among those recommended to us by the STL Audubon Society in its site visit to WGPC in March of 2018,” she said.

Environmental Stewardship members had already followed another recommendation of the Society by removing the invasive burning bush plants near the kitchen door and replacing them with chokeberry (Aronia) during Mission Weekend 2018.

As for the new planting, mulching and watering were to begin this week. A team of gardeners has volunteered to water the plants over the summer.

Several members gave their thanks to the group for the project in emails.

Mia Walters expressed her gratitude for the gift of hard work the group gave to improve the church grounds.

“This was a significant undertaking of planning and effort. I’m anxious to see it in person and watch the plants grow over the years. A special thanks to Deb for spearheading the project and making it happen,” she said.

Karen Dapron said the effort is a win-win.

“A shout out of thanks to all who put this together from design to prep to installation. It’s great to have low maintenance native plants at WGPC, and the birds and bees will be happy too,” she said.

Deb said it has taken a while to implement the project, but the group is moving in the right direction.

“We’re making steady progress,” she said.



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