Shortly before the Pandemic shutdown in March, newly installed President of the Sebastopol Grange Laura Shafer talked with the Program Director of the Sonoma County Beekeepers Association, Miles Sarvis-Wilburn about the Grange’s desire to plant flowers in the back yard of the Hall on Hwy 12. By April, a plan, a budget, and a vision for a 630-foot pollinator hedgerow began to materialize.
The collaboration between the two organizations fulfilled a mission of the Beekeepers Association to plant more bee-friendly gardens in public spaces. Using mostly native California plants from local nurseries and the beekeepers gardens, the Really Good Bees Inspirational Garden was planted October 24th by a dozen volunteers from both organizations.
The project had begun to take shape in June with a delivery of fill dirt from Ron Peters Excavating down the road, who also generously donated two hours of backhoe and a driver to shape the mounds into three distinct planting areas. Grange member Wendy Krupnick suggested the crescent shape design, leaving the center open to the vista views to the north. Though fires raged in Sonoma County in August and September, plants were procured with the help of Maryle Brauer, Garden Director for the Beekeepers Association, and Josh Williams, owner of California Flora Nursery, who offered a discount and a generous amount of expertise in plant selection. Arbor Mulch was delivered, raked and watered to begin the mycellium process. With Sonoma Premium soil donated from Grab N’ Grow Soil Products, Sebastopol Hardware providing gopher baskets, and Harmony Farm Supply donating drip irrigation supplies, this was a true community effort which allowed the Grange to keep under budget on the project. That was a relief for Grange Treasurer Gary Abreim who saw the Grange’s income disappear with the cancellation of Hall rentals for the year.
The garden came together on October 24, a foggy Saturday morning with perfect planting conditions for a dozen volunteers. One plant enthusiast even drove from Davis to help establish two Western Redbuds, dozens of various salvias, mints, sugar bushes, quail plants, vitex, coffee berry and others that will grow into a year-round blooming hedge to give food and shelter to bees and birds in the Laguna de Santa Rosa and Kelly Farm area.
The educational portion of the project will appear later on the Grange website, identifying the species. For more information on planting for bees contact: firstname.lastname@example.org