People, Plants, and Pollinators

The final design, drawn by Katie Ayers, contains 50 native plant species. Roll over image to see hot spots for bees throughout the garden; areas in red show bee-supporting plants.

Plant Key: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z AA BB CC DD EE FF GG HH II JJ KK LL MM NN OO PP QQ RR SS TT UU VV WW XX


The Penn State CfS Community Garden was awarded funding to install a pollinator garden through the Sustainability Institute’s Reinvention Fund.  The Reinvention Fund was designed to aid in the implementation of sustainability-based projects at Penn State led by both students and faculty. The pollinator garden at the Penn State Community Garden site implements a space that perpetuates both community education and native pollinator species’ habitat. This space can also be utilized for relaxation, discussion, workshops, and courses at Penn State.

Bee pollination in particular is important to the sexual reproduction of many plants including various crop species found in the garden plots. Common bee-pollinated crops include apple, beet, blueberry, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cucumber, grape, mustard, onion, peach, squash, strawberry, sunflower, tomato, and watermelon. In recent years, a variety of factors including habitat loss, disease, pollution, and climate change have begun to threaten native bee populations and have thus posed a threat to the global food supply. The pollinator garden at the CfS community garden aims to support native bees and other pollinators by providing a healthy habitat throughout the season. We also hope that attracting these animals to the community garden will improve pollination and fruition throughout the garden plots!

The pollinator garden was designed by the leadership of the Community Garden with help from experts in many fields, including Horticulture, Agronomy, Entomology, and the Sustainability Institute. With the guidance of The Master Gardener Program and Center for Pollinator Research, 50 native plant species that house pollinators and other beneficial insects were selected. The pollinator garden is also included in the Snetsinger Butterfly Garden Satellite Garden Partnership Program which promotes pollinator friendly habitats throughout the Centre County region.

The construction and maintenance of the pollinator garden has been conducted through the hard work of the Community Garden members. The construction began by the seeding of a cover crop over the flower beds to limit soil erosion. A permaculture method called sheet mulching was then installed to establish a healthy, productive growing medium for the plants and smother any weeds. Bare root perennial plants were started in these beds in Fall 2014. During the 2015 season, the perennials emerged and produced many flowers. In order to maintain soil moisture and limit competition from weeds, the beds were mulched heavily with straw. The garden continues to be monitored for weeds, insect pests, and rodents.

Beginning this season, the first annual Pollinator Services Workshop will be held to describe the benefits of pollinators and the process of establishing floral provisions and habitat. There is still more work to be done at the pollinator garden including routine maintenance, implementation of educational signage, development of educational materials, and tours of the site. If you are interested in helping out with the Penn State CfS Community Garden Pollinator Garden Project, please contact the garden’s President, Katie Ayers.




Workday construction by garden members.



A honeybee investigates a borage flower.

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