Build a Pollinator Garden and the Bees & Butterflies Will Come

Published on August 10th, 2020 by Karen Shipman

By Karen A. Chase

If you’ve noticed a fresh dirt patch around the sign at Chimborazo Playground (on 29th Street between Broad St. and Franklin St.), it is part of a Friends of Chimborazo Playground (FOCP) pollinator garden project designed to attract some new “visitors”: bees and butterflies.

Working with two neighborhood volunteers, and with the City’s Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Department (PRCF), this pollinator garden strives to achieve three goals.

First, the garden’s design attracts bees and butterflies by providing them ornamental plants, a pollinator house, a mud puddling spot, and sunning/stepping stones. “These new ‘visitors’ will benefit the raised garden beds at the opposite end of the park,” says Karen Shipman, President of FOCP. “It also achieves our second goal of enhancing the park.”

Additionally, beautification encourages use of public spaces, providing a more welcoming and safe space for families. PRCF has rid the previously neglected signage area of weeds and debris, as well as approved a suggested planting list of native plantings and mostly perennials – American Verbena, Yarrow, Salvia, Heliopsis, Daisies, and Cornflowers.

Before PRCF clean-up
After PRCF clean-up

Third, the pollinator garden will be an educational resource, with information readily available about the attributes that such plantings, as well as the butterflies and bees, provide our community. Plans include permanent and weather-proof signage, as well as a children’s treasure map of the garden. The FOCP has already secured a small grant to install a Little Library to house books and literature.

“The pollinator garden is a part of a bigger plan to improve the park,” says Karen Rankin, Vice-President of FOCP, “which includes other weeding, beautification, and mural projects.”

Timing for the FOCP pollinator garden project includes preparing the ground – tilling and mulching – now. In late fall, a few shrubs, roses, and a dogwood tree will be installed. Spring 2021 is the estimated time for installing the majority of the plants, and the FOCP will put out information for gardening volunteers closer to that date. The FOCP hope to have a formal ribbon cutting in late Spring. Stay tuned for more information!

Planting plan


Because the pollinator garden project is volunteer-based, and FOCP operates under a non-profit (Enrichmond), your donations can help fund and furnish the pollinator garden. Tax-deductible monetary donations for the pollinator garden can be made here:

If you prefer to donate any of the below items for the garden, please email: We will coordinate a pick-up or drop-off date, time, and location with you.

1 – Bench
3 – Tall Pots/Urns or Planters (2-3′ tall for milkweed annuals)
1 – Bird Bath
2 – Garbage cans with domed lids for rain barrels (see attached picture)
1 – Bike Rack (or makings for it)
2-3 Dozen step stones or 12″ or bigger pavers
Any spare bricks or ballast stones
Children’s books about pollinators and gardens

Rain barrel example