Growing For Gold: Gayer Plants Pollinator Garden

Girl Scout Kalie Gayer pats down the soil around a plant in her pollinator garden Thursday in Memorial Park. The garden is part of Gayer’s Gold Award Project.
Staff Writer

Tucked away along the canal boat in Memorial Park, birds, bees and butterflies are just discovering their new favorite spot.

The new pollinator garden comes to the park courtesy of Memorial High School senior and Girl Scout Kalie Gayer as she works toward earning her Gold Award. In the cool shade of trees, fresh plants are taking root that will help these vital pollinators keep St. Marys and Auglaize County beautiful.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve had a bit of an obsession with butterflies — I always enjoy watching them — and so for my Gold Award project, I knew I wanted to do something nature related,” Gayer said. 

Filling the 380 square-foot garden is a collection of plants donated to Gayer by the St. Marys Garden Club — her partner in the project. Plants include a butterfly bush, yarrow, cone flowers, bee balms, lilies and lavender as well as some Rose of Sharon plants. 

Gayer added that she was approached by the garden club to become partners and she was very grateful for their help.

Originally planning of creating rest areas for people and butterflies along a trail, the 17-year-old had envisioned park benches with flower pots on either side along the towpath or throughout K.C. Geiger Park. That plan fell through so Gayer switched to her plan B to benefit the butterflies.

“When I switched to the garden idea, I was originally going to do just a butterfly garden but when I had my proposal, they suggested was making it a pollinator garden,” she said. 

When she approached the city, she also received a warm welcome.

“When Kalie approached the city about her project we thought it was a fantastic idea,” Community Development Director Mike Burkholder said. 

Although the garden is on city property, the upkeep is Gayer’s responsibility, but it’s something she is looking forward to doing. She said the maintenance includes keeping the garden cleaned, mulched and watered as well as keeping the plants in balance and she will have help from her mom and the garden club while she goes to college.

“If something starts to die or it gets too big, I’ll cut it back to keep everything nice and healthy,” Gayer said.