Penn State’s New Pollinator and Bird Garden Arboretum Now Open
After a year and a half of construction and 10 years of fundraising, the Arboretum at Penn State’s new Pollinator and Bird Garden opened to the public this week.
Located in the HO Smith Botanical Gardens on the corner of East Park Avenue and Bigler Road, the 3-acre garden is the Arboretum’s largest addition since the Botanic Gardens’ inception, the director of operations for the Botanic Gardens said Wednesday on Wednesday. Arboretum, Shari Edelson.
“I am so happy that we are finally opening this garden and after a year and a half of construction people can finally see what is behind this blue construction fence all this time,” she said.
Since the idea for the garden was conceptualized in 2010 and construction began in 2019, the project has cost a total of $ 9 million, said Arboretum director Kim Steiner. Every dollar of that amount, he said, has been donated by hundreds of donors.
Steiner said Arboretum staff have worked with designers to create plans for the landscape and planting, and according to a press release, the majority of the plants in the garden were planted by volunteers.
The new garden brings a variety of new features to explore, Steiner said, including two new ponds, low hills, “hotels” for bees, the second covered area of the Arboretum, and benches in quiet spaces for customers relax.
The garden also contains 143,000 new plants and hopes to attract all of Pennsylvania’s native pollinators, including, Edelson said, several hundred different types of bees.
“To my knowledge, no one has ever made a pollinator garden like this,” Steiner said. “You can’t believe how intensively this is designed. ”
One feature of the garden in particular drew a lot of questions from visitors, Steiner said: the two dead trees mounted in the center of the valley-shaped garden next to Pollinator Square.
Dead trees, which stand tall in stark contrast to the acres of colorful plants they overlook, serve as homes and perches for hawks and other birds.
In addition to creating an aesthetic space, the garden will be used as a research medium for Penn State students, a source of inspiration for gardeners, and a way to educate the public about pollination in an accessible way.
After visiting the garden, Edelson hopes people realize how dependent humans are on pollinators, especially in the midst of an “almost unprecedented biodiversity crisis.”
“Pollinator populations are under threat, bird populations are under threat, natural landscapes and plant communities are under threat,” she said. “And we felt it was really important to reflect the wonders of biodiversity and the interconnections between the plant kingdom and populations of insects and birds, and to truly encourage appreciation of these natural ecosystems.”
Although the garden is open, it is not quite finished. Edelson said there were still plants to be planted, along with various other features to add to the garden, such as bee hives, bird furniture and interpretive signs identifying the plants.
“One of the really fun realities of building a new garden is that we’ve been under construction for a year and a half, but now we’re going to be open forever,” Edelson said. “And so we always have to keep improving the garden. “
The Arboretum is open daily from dawn until dusk, and admission is free. Parking is available on the Arboretum grounds until July 19, when construction begins on the new Palmer Museum of Art facility. After that, parking will be available across the street on the lot adjacent to the Lewis Katz building.