The Junior Girls’ Golf Butterfly Garden at Pine Ridge

I recently took an online class from The University of Pennsylvania called Better Leader, Richer Life taught by Stewart Friedman.  One of the assignments was to complete a project that would tie together the four domains of your life (home, work, community, and private or spiritual) and try to make your world a better place for it. Striving for a four-way win in all areas was the goal.

After a few false starts, I decided upon planting a pollinator garden at Pine Ridge. The news regarding bees has been bleak of late so any little bit we can do to help them is a positive.  I’ve had a fascination with bees and butterflies for a long time and studied to become a beekeeper but just haven’t found the right spot to keep hives.  Being passionate about this project seemed to be the key to it getting off the ground.  Obstacles and difficulties are much easier to overcome and solutions easier to come by when you believe deeply in what you are doing.

We have been running a Junior Girls’ Program for several years at Pine Ridge. Planting a Butterfly Garden would provide a great opportunity for the girls to learn about pollinators, teach them the importance of using native plants and create an experience that would allow them to beautify a place where they recreate.

Pine Ridge Golf Course is one of five courses the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation manages.  We are a non-profit and finding money in the budget for something like a pollinator garden isn’t a high priority.  So I drew up a colorful web page with the help of Elsie Davis, our webmaster, created a budget for the garden, programming for the season and set out to find someone to help fund it.  Who can resist little girls and butterflies???

Having taught quite a few people who work at McCormick and Company over the years, I thought I’d forward my request to them and hope they’d guide me in the right direction.  I felt like a butterfly looking for the right place to land and I certainly found the right place!  Kelly McCaffery who is Vice President of HR& Global HR Operations (and a fine golfer!) walked me through what would be needed to get funding.  I learned a great deal from Kelly in the process and we are all grateful to McCormick and Company for their generosity and sending volunteers Donna Hartley and Laura Scott who help us keep the program organized and energized.

We needed a design for the gardenRick Kingsbury is a landscape architect who is heralded in Mt. Washington.  Rick donated his services and drew us up an amazing plan. He made sure the native perennials would be deer resistant, drought resistant, and thought to include some herbs to pay tribute to our sponsor.  Blue Water Baltimore who operate Herring Run Nursery (located adjacent to Mt. Pleasant Golf Course off Hillen Road) supplied the plants at a reasonable cost and Vince Vizachero the nursery manager was very helpful in making sure we got healthy, beautiful plants.

So that left us with the planting of over 100 plants!  On Saturday morning, May 23 we had a planting party.  Mike Schwartz who is one of the hard workers on our maintenance staff at Pine Ridge spent much of the week preparing  the space for us.  On planting day, he showed up to help us out as did Rick Kingsbury, Jill Yonowitz (one of our Board Members) and a dozen junior girl golfers and their parents.  A big thanks goes out to Mike Miguel and Megan for bringing their auger which helped a great deal.  Rick has also made the plants he chose and plan itself available to anyone who would like to replicate a butterfly garden of their own.

There are already flowers blooming and the garden has received rave reviews.  Soon the butterflies and pollinators will arrive.  I’d call it a four-way win if ever there was one!    We have many more projects that we need help with and we’ll seek creative solutions and partnerships with community businesses and our patrons to help us.

Julieta Stack is the Director of Golf Instruction at The Baltimore Golf Academy, part of The Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation.

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