Sweet Beginnings: Launching the Eastside Pollinator Garden Project

My fascination with bees began in a field off of Lincoln Elementary School’s playground in Redondo Beach. I would lay out with my friends in the clover, making little necklaces and crowns and watching the bees hover from flower to flower. When my dad told me we had a hive on one of the plum trees, I was thrilled.

Ali's dad next to his prized fruit trees.

Ali’s dad next to his prized fruit trees.

As summer ended, the bees moved on, leaving behind the most complex, amber honey I could dream of. Our plums and apricots were plentiful that year; the product of this pollinator habitat sweetened our tea into the winter, a pleasant reminder of summer’s productivity in our backyard.

Now as an Education Coordinator and AmeriCorps Member at ESLT, I am spreading the pollinator love. My co-worker Sara Kokkelenberg and I have been developing the Eastside Pollinator Garden Project, working with our communities and willing landowners to create and certify pollinator habitats throughout Inyo and Mono counties. If you’re interested in supporting beneficial wildlife and certifying your garden, you should definitely check out our project. You will join a community of individuals committed to preserving our native pollinator habitats in addition to receiving a free plaque and materials reimbursement.

A bee hovers near Prince's Plume in the ESLT garden.

A bee hovers near Prince’s Plume, one of many native plants in the ESLT garden.

The ESLT website makes it easy to sign up for the project and connect you to gardening resources, and our calendar of upcoming gardening-related workshops and events will keep you up-to-speed on the latest happenings in the community of Eastside gardeners.

With the intense research that went into the Eastside Pollinator Garden Project, I now fully understand that the pollinator’s role in my garden is pivotal to producing beautiful blooms and juicy fruits. Viewing the garden as habitat has really changed my perspective on features such as bare ground (now a nesting site for ground-nesting bees) and the dog’s water bowl (a hummingbird watering hole (just kidding). I will be planning for my pollinator habitat this spring with hopes of a bountiful fruit harvest come summer. Who knows? Maybe another set of bees will make their nest at my Bishop home.

Inspired? Click here to get started on certifying your garden today!

Want to learn more? Join us at GardenFest on April 24th in the ESLT garden (176 Home St. in Bishop) from 3-6PM. We’ll be answering questions about the project, and you’ll have a chance to get your pollinator garden up and growing, as community groups such as 4-H and the California Native Plants Society will have all sorts of plants for sale. Contact me at alison@eslt.org or call (760) 873-4554 for more information. Hope to see you then!