Pollinator Gardens Trail – 2023 Recap

November 15, 2023

Contributed by Lee Graul, Harford County Master Gardener

In early 2023, Harford County Master Gardeners (HCMG) and Harford Land Trust (HLT) met to discuss ways in which we could collaborate to promote the use of native plants and lawn reduction, and ultimately improve habitat for a variety of wildlife and pollinator species. 

One of two HCMG projects to benefit from HLT’s Grow Wild Harford initiative (which is funded through a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust), the Pollinator Gardens Trail (PGT) emerged and benefited greatly from this amazing partnership.

The hard-working members of the HCMG PGT Committee hashed out criteria for joining the PGT, developed a process for meeting with and assessing candidate gardens, and tapped an extensive network of friends, businesses, and gardeners to identify potential public-accessible gardens around Harford County that could be considered for the PGT.  In parallel, we collaborated with HLT on the design of a logo and a sign, developed an application, and began to spread the word via social media and HCMG and HLT events.  

Through the generosity of the Grow Wild program, the PGT now has a web presence, with descriptions for each of the gardens and a map pinpointing the locations.  In addition, we amassed a trove of gardening and pollinator materials for children, and from that a “Sprouts” page was born.

From May to October, committee members visited candidate gardens, reviewed applications, conducted “official” visits to evaluate applicant gardens, and installed PGT signs at approved sites. 

HCMG hosted a PGT Launch celebration in late August, 2023 – a well-attended event featuring local businesses, HCMG experts, 4H-ers, educational activities and signage, and activities for children. 

As we wrap up the pollinator gardening season, we are delighted to have eleven (11) inaugural gardens on the Trail!  We look forward to resuming our activities in early spring 2024, receiving new applications, adding more gardens, spreading the word about the importance of pollinators, and inspiring community members to create more pollinator habitats!  Please check here to see if your public-accessible garden may qualify, and to fill out an application.

Grow Wild is a Harford Land Trust program established in 2023. Grow Wild serves all of Harford County, Maryland. Our focus is on educating and engaging urban and suburban residential communities in this region about the benefits of converting at least a portion of their yards to more natural spaces, where pollinators and other wildlife can thrive.

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