A Native New Jersey Plant Mini-Habitat for Pollinators, Butterflies and Songbirds


The next time you are in the Greater Metropolitan Pottersville, New Jersey area, stop by to visit the traffic island at the intersection of Black River Road, Fairmount Road East and Hacklebarney Road, right by the steel bridge over the Lamington River. Some friends got together to transform the somewhat forlorn traffic island into a mini native New Jersey plant habitat for pollinators, butterflies and songbirds.

The island is a triangle measuring about 15’ x 15’ x 12’. Maybe someday someone will come up with a formula for calculating the area of a triangle. Until then we’ll just have to estimate the area as around 100 square feet.

The plants were paid for by an anonymous donation and provided by Wild Ridge Nursery in Pohatcong, NJ. Rachel Mackow, owner of Wild Ridge Plants, selected the plants and provided a planting layout.

There are 82 plants total and 10 species as follows:

Hollow Stem Joe Pye (Eutrochium fistulosum), Bottle Gentian (Gentiana clausa), Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus divarcatus), Blazing Star (Liatris spicata), Bee Balm (Monarda didyma), Wild Bergamot (Monards fistulosa), Carolina Rose (Rosa carolina), Tall Coneflower (Rudbeckia lacinata), Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa), Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans).

We discarded an old wood-barrel flower pot, cleared away the wood chips covering the soil, amended the existing (and not too bad considering) soil with Bumper Crop, an organic soil builder, laid out the plants according to Mackow’s diagram, and started planting. The whole process took 7 people about two hours. Fortunately, it’s rained regularly just about every day since the installation and it looks like it will again in the next few days. That should get it off to a healthy start.

The hope is that the garden will thrive with little watering or maintenance. Hmmm. We’ll see. Meanwhile, we’re waiting for the Monarch Butterflies to find this salubrious resting spot on our little island here in paradise.

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