Supporting Pollinators and the Community
The Kane County Farm Bureau recently expanded its pollinator rain garden located on their grounds along Randall Road in St. Charles. The 3,500 square foot garden is shaped like Illinois with major rivers lined with hardscapes serving as watercourses for storm events. The community turned out in force on September 1, 2022 to help the bureau plant/re-plant nearly 1,000 native prairie, pollinator, and wetland plants. Environmental consulting and planning professionals, ENCAP Inc., oversaw construction and installation of the garden.
The Bureau promotes the benefits of pollinator habitats for agricultural landscapes via a guide that outlines seed preparation, planting, suitable flowers & grasses, planting methods, and site management. This is a wonderful tool to help farmers reestablish pollinator habitats which are an integral component to our food supply. Additionally, pollinator habitats incorporated into farmland improve water quality by reducing nutrients and sediment in runoff and provide forage for livestock. This new garden will serve as an educational outpost for both farmers and community members.
Midwest Groundcovers and Midwest Trading were pleased to support the Kane County Farm Bureau in their installation of the Illinois Prairie Pollinator Rain Garden. Midwest Trading donated 180 bags of Premium Hardwood Bark Mulch and 120 bags of Premium Hardwood Bark Fines. A significant discount was also provided on 40 cubic yards of Garden Mix. Midwest Groundcovers extended a discount on over 700 native plants used in the installation. The plants utilized in the design are from Midwest Groundcovers’ Natural Garden Natives® catalog, which are local eco-type (seed-sourced) from within 90 miles of St. Charles, Illinois.
Midwest Groundcovers was started along Rt. 25 in St. Charles, Illinois in 1969 by Peter Orum and his wife Irma. What started as 5 acres has now grown to over 700 acres spread across five nursery locations in Illinois and Michigan. Still in the family, Christa Orum-Keller holds the reins as Chairman and President at Midwest Groundcovers and Chairman of Midwest Trading. Christa is passionate about native plants and has helped ensure they continue to thrive in the community by acquiring the 29-acre Midwest Natural Garden, located on the west side of St. Charles, in 2011.
A complete list of the Natural Garden Natives® used in the Bureau’s Garden can be found in the Native News section of our website, naturalgardennatives.com. The website has in-depth information about native plant communities and individual plant details. This is a great resource for both novice and expert gardeners who are looking to incorporate native plants into their own gardens. The “Where to Buy” section on the site lists local independent garden centers that sell Natural Garden Natives®.
In addition to donations and discounts, the Farm Bureau received grant money for the project from several sources. As the importance of pollinators continues to become more readily understood, organizations are stepping up to help bring about change. For example, non-profits and education agencies are now eligible to apply for the Openlands ComEd Green Region Grant which awards up to $10,000 for conservation projects based in Northern Illinois (https://openlands.org/get-involved/greenregion/)
We’re excited to have been able to support this worthwhile community project and look forward to seeing it grow!
Natural Garden Natives® included in the Kane County Farm Bureau Garden:
Allium cernuum (Nodding Wild Onion)
Asclepias incarnata (Rose (Swamp) Milkweed)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)
Baptisia leucophaea (Cream Wild Indigo)
Dalea purpurea (Purple Prairie Clover)
Echinacea pallida (Pale Purple Coneflower)
Geranium maculatum (Wild Geranium)
Iris virginica var. shrevei (Blueflag Iris)
Liatris aspera (Rough Blazing Star)
Liatris spicata (Marsh Blazing Star)
Lobelia siphilitica (Great Blue Lobelia)
Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot)
Pycnanthemum virginianum (Common Mountain Mint)
Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem)
Solidago speciosa (Showy Goldenrod)
Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie Dropseed)
Symph (Aster) novae-angliae (New England Aster)
Tradescantia ohiensis (Common Spiderwort)
Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver’s Root)
Zizia aurea (Golden Alexanders)