Staatsburg Library’s Garden and Story Walk

We’re so happy to see the success of the Staatsburg library’s new pantry/pollinator garden! An earlier attempt at growing on the property was flooded out last year, so this spring Backyard to Table’s Sue Sie (an architect in an earlier life) designed a new layout and donated raised beds with sides high enough to withstand another deluge. When she told McEnroe Organic Farm about the project, they cut their price in half for the soil/compost blend. Friends and neighbors dropped off seedlings, some leaving their donations anonymously in the library’s gazebo. A group of volunteers planted, watered and otherwise nurtured the trove.

Now, sunflowers, cosmos, borage and zinnias draw all manner of butterflies and beneficial buzzers. They share their beds with corn, beans, peppers, kale, tomatoes, and a squash plant that’s escaped its confines and is making a getaway along the grass. The plots’ bounty is free for the taking and has been picked and enjoyed by local visitors. This is what community looks like! The library’s Children’s Program Coordinator, Lisa Prentiss, has made the garden and surrounding grounds even more enticing with a story walk: She placed laminated pages of the children’s book I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen, at regular intervals so kids can go “station to station and read a new page,” she explains. She also placed facsimiles of the creatures talked about in the book on nearby rocks for her young readers to discover. “It’s a wonderful spot,” says Candace Gallagher, who installs pollinator gardens, founded the Pollinator Patrol Club (whose Instagram is a delight) and is a mother of two. “Every time I’m there it feels different and fun.” 

—Margot Dougherty