Native Plants /Pollinators Teaching Garden, Brooklyn NY

New York University’s Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education and Steinhardt School of Culture Education and Human Development commissioned the design and installation supervision of this garden. They wanted it for public school teachers to bring K-12 classes for environmental education and for school and community groups to engage in citizen science and civic ecology practices, as well as for public enjoyment. 

The site - a 5600 sq. ft. section of the Lentol Community Garden in Williamsburg, Brooklyn - was heavily shaded by three trees overgrown after years of neglect, with exposed roots spreading widely. Soil was compacted except along edges where leaves had been piled. Most all plants were to come from NYC Parks Dept’s Greenbelt Native Plant Nursery, with selection based entirely on their availability. Young students led by interns were to do much of the site work and planting, with occasional participation by community volunteers.

In the design, the site was shaped to offer a spacious entry from the street, a wide main path, a large gathering area for teaching, a children’s planting area, and a system of pathways totaling 160 running feet through a richly diverse naturalistic planting.  

 

Native shrubs, woodland wildflowers, ferns, and grasses were positioned in accordance with the varying shade and soil conditions, with a meadow-esque planting set in the sunny corner.

Altogether the ten newly installed woody plant species and the thirty-six species of herbaceous perennials will invite an abundance of pollinating insects and birds and offer countless opportunities for learning and enjoyment.