Community garden opens as habitat for Columbia pollinators

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Published: Nov. 5, 2022 at 8:44 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A pollinator garden near downtown Columbia celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting at 2513 Gervais Street on Saturday.

“Columbia Green usually gives money to other groups to do these kinds of projects. And we decided we wanted to try to do one ourselves. And this was the result,” said Trace Ballou, president of the Columbia Green 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Ballou tells WIS the pollinator garden was conceptualized two years ago and cost $11,000 to install in the Marvin Heller Community Garden. The grounds feature a circular walkway encompassed by five informative plaques and six above-ground garden beds.

The project was made possible through a series of grants and a working partnership with the Lyon Street Neighborhood Association (LSNA).

“It’s going to be a place where pollinators can grow and it’s going to help our community garden… thrive even more so. It’s important projects like these that make our communities places that we all want to live and be,” said LSNA president Chase Toler during Saturday’s celebration.

During the construction phase in 2021, Lyon Street neighbor Alvin “Rambo” Lemon planted a series of fruits and vegetables in the wheelchair-accessible garden bed.

“It’s a rich ground here and it grows very good. I like to see stuff grow. Even if I don’t eat it, I like to see it grow,” said Lemon, a Korean War veteran who drove his mobility scooter to the celebration.

LSNA additionally credits the Central Carolina Realtors Association, the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation, and the Central Carolina Community Foundation for funding and other assistance.

The pollinator garden is open to the public and not limited to the Lyon Street neighborhood.

“This garden is a real example of the kinds of collaborations that Columbia Green wants to do more of. All groups are made stronger by working together to get things done that is for the betterment of the entire community,” said Ballou.

Columbia Green has operated across the capital city since 1983. Its mission is to improve and protect the natural beauty of South Carolina while educating the public about the environment. The nonprofit hosts the annual Festival Of Gardens and spearheads the Columbia Green Square Mile project.

Columbia Green relies on community members to support its environmental operations. If you’re interested in joining their efforts, Ballou is inviting you to click here.

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