Personette Street, Caldwell, NJ
The garden was begun in 2015 by the Caldwell Environmental Commission. The borough purchased the parcel of land, measuring 70 feet wide and 100 feet deep, on Personette Street with Green Acres and open Space Trust funding. A plan was developed to create a rectangular meadow in the center of the property bordered by a four-foot wide path with gardens dedicated to different pollinators located on the outside perimeter. The meadow was established in the fall of the first year using a seed mixture of native plants usually found in such an ecosystem. The meadow, once begun, has had little maintenance to date except for being cut down once in the late winter. The outside gardens were developed gradually using only native, untreated perennials. Those perennials were selected for tolerance of clay soil, the presence of a black walnut tree, nearly day long sunshine, and the presence of deer in the area. Plants were chosen that would bloom at various times throughout the growing season to provide food for pollinators year-round. Native trees were planted including dogwood, redbud, pawpaw, and service berry.
While volunteers from various local organizations were involved in the beginning of this project, over the past couple of years it has been volunteer Master Gardeners who have worked at maintaining the garden. With their support, the garden continues to be an inspiration to gardeners who visit it to learn how to create their own pollinator gardens in the effort to restore our native pollinators. The garden, in turn, has educated the volunteers in learning about meadow ecology, native perennials, and the diversity of insects and birds.