Girl Scout Troop #2579 in Ardsley is doing its part to save bees, butterflies, and other pollinators vital to human and animal life by planting a pollinator garden outside the Ardsley Public Library.
Their garden is not part of the library’s own larger pollinator garden seen from American Legion Drive.
The troop of seven sixth-graders, led by Miriam Raposh-Sassalos, includes her daughter, Cassandra, 11, who has been a Scout since kindergarten and learned about gardening from working with her mother in their family garden. “I would always plant the seeds for our marigolds,” Cassandra told the Enterprise on May 3.
She understands the importance of pollinators. “The ladybugs, bees, butterflies, and birds take the pollen and land on other plants. That helps vegetables start to grow. We need this for the food we and other animals eat.”
Cassandra’s troop inherited the plot, tucked away in front of the building, from her older sister Calista’s Troop #1676. Calista, who graduated from Ardsley High School in 2020, is now in her first year at SUNY Oswego. She began the project in the winter of 2019, and Cassandra helped lay out stones for the garden.
Though Calista’s troop’s project technically was completed in May 2020, she, Cassandra, and their mother continued to work on the garden until Calista started college in the fall. Cassandra’s troop kept working on the garden as a sustainable “Take Action” project.
The garden now includes a table with benches; a concrete fountain donated by a local businessman; concrete planters; and a checkerboard garden comprising flat concrete squares donated by Glenn Leibel, CEO of Robert Jacobson Sports, alternating with pollinator plants sprouting from grass patches.
There is also a rectangle outlined with stones, left open for other planting projects that the library and Ardsley Garden Club may use as an outdoor classroom for children attending special educational programs.
Originally, the garden offered the pollinators bee balm, black-eyed Susans, daisies, butterfly weed, phlox, coneflowers, irises, and marigolds. Over the winter, some plants hibernated and some didn’t survive. So on Sunday, May 2, Troop 2579 pulled weeds and replaced plants that had succumbed to the elements.
“We planted a type of flower that is meant to come back every year, called perennials,” Cassandra explained. Though pink hyacinths are her favorite, she and her friends planted day lilies, astilbes, hostas, liatris, and lilacs. The garden’s daffodils and bleeding hearts bloomed in March. Sassalos noted that the garden was to include plants that have different blooming times.
“It was important to us to always have something new popping up in the garden,” she said, adding, “I am hoping these young ladies will become devoted gardeners.”
Cassandra described the work Troop 2579 has done so far. “We took out the weeds… made holes for the new plants, added compost and soil, and put in the new plants. We also watered everything after we were finished.”
This summer the girls plan to maintain the garden.
Cassandra’s favorite pastime in the garden now is to “sit and watch the butterflies land on the plants… They would fly from one plant to another. Sometimes it looked like they were playing together in the sun. It makes me feel happy that all of our hard work will help the library and the environment.”