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Simpson’s native garden receives honor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Thursday, 09 January 2014 10:17
Cinda Stutzman, natural resource specialist with Bowling Green Parks and Recreation, accepts a Native Landscape Award from Hal Mann, president of the Wild Ones Oak Openings Chapter. (Photo: Harold Brown/Sentinel-Tribune)
Bowling Green Department of Parks and Recreation has won the Wild Ones Native Landscape award in the Public Agency category for the beautiful native garden at Simpson Garden Park.
The award was presented Dec. 30 at the Bowling Green City Council meeting by Hal Mann, president of the Wild Ones Oak Openings chapter.
Four years ago, Cinda Stutzman, Bowling Green's natural resources specialist, and Dan Parrat, the horticulturist started on a journey to create a display garden within the park using all native plants.
For the first phase, in the fall of 2010 they killed the grass in a section approximately 42 feet by 86 feet in preparation for spring planting.
They brought in over 40 yards of mulch, wood chips, and 20 yards of sand.
They placed sand in the areas where sand loving plants would go.
Using the woodchips they created a winding path through the center of the bed.  In order to minimize weeds, they put a deep layer of mulch where the plants would be situated.
In the spring, they planted 18 different species of native plants all obtained from local sources. These included columbine, dotted horsemint, dense blazing star, wild bergamot, stiff goldenrod, false sunflower, little bluestem, Indian grass, Virginia mountain mint, and butterfly milkweed.  
Throughout the year with the aid of park staff and volunteers they watered and weeded to make sure the plants got well established.  By late summer the plants had started to fill in and some had already started to bloom.
This encouraged the two to proceed with the second phase of the three-year plan.
In the fall of 2011, they staked out the area for phase two.  This section, approximately 112 feet long, connected to the east side of the earlier plantings.
In the spring of 2012, the team of park employees and volunteers planted tall meadow-rue, culver's root, purple love grass, rattlesnake master, grey-headed coneflower, showy goldenrod, western coneflower, and others.
In 2012 plants necessary for Monarch butterfly conservation were added.
Mann said the native plant garden is more than an eye-appealing display.
"It is also positive for the environment.  Since all these plants have evolved here over thousands and thousands of years, they are perfectly adapted to the soil and climatic conditions of the area.  They not only don't need water once established and don't need expensive fertilizers, these plants contribute to the ecological health of the environment.  Their deep root systems help to clean the water and let it soak far into the ground before making its way into the streams, rivers, and lakes."
All of these plants are suitable for residential landscapes in the area, Mann said.
The choice of species is dependent on the particular soil types, and light and moisture conditions in the specific yard.
During the growing season, all of the native plants used at Simpson are available locally at Naturally Native Nursery and the Wood County Park District booth at the Bowling Green Farmer's Market. Also the spring plant sales at Wood County Park District and Toledo Botanical Garden feature native plants. TBG also has a fall plant sale that includes natives.
Tuesday's Wild Ones program, open to everyone, is in Olander Park, Sylvania, at 7 p.m., is "How to Attract Pollinators to Your Garden" presented by Wood County bee keeper, Karen Wood.

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