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New garden project aims to 'bee inspired'

April 30, 2014
by Rudy Herndon, Moab Times-Independent

Grand County honeybee inspector Jerry Shue is not a gardener by trade, and local resident Rhonda Gotway hasn’t always taken such a strong interest in honeybees.

But the two of them eventually found that their interests overlap, and that brought them together last weekend to develop the first of many planned bee-friendly demonstration gardens around Moab.

The Moab Bee Inspired Gardens initiative is still in the early phases: at this point, it hasn’t been formally organized, according to Gotway, a Grand Conservation District board member.

But Gotway, Shue and three other hardy souls couldn’t wait to get started on a new garden plot at Rotary Park, and not even Saturday’s unpredictable bursts of rain and blustery winds could keep them away from the job.

“The idea is to get out on the ground,” Gotway said April 26.

For its first assignment, the group planted a combination of native and non-native species that bloom in the spring, summer and fall, including honeysuckle vines, penstemons, yarrow, snakeweed and lavender.

The group chose the selection to attract both native and non-native pollinators, including honeybees, according to Gotway.

Kara Dohrenwend of Wildland Scapes sold the plants to the city of Moab at a 30 percent discount; other project partners include the city, the Rotary Club and Utah State University’s local extension office.

In addition to the plantings in Rotary Park, the group has already identified other places that could be transformed into pollinator-friendly yards.

It has also developed a list that includes landscaping options for farms and other large properties, as well as different possibilities for homes on smaller lots, Dohrenwend said.

Future efforts will likely include an educational component to address the many misconceptions about honeybees, and to highlight the valuable roles that they play as pollinators.

Gotway is hoping that more and more people will use that information to set up their own pollinator-friendly gardens, and she also welcomes residents to take part in the Bee Inspired initiative.

“We hope that people will join in,” she said.

For more information, contact Jerry Shue at: 435-260-8581, or Gotway at: 435-260-2231. Additional information can be found through Utah State University’s sustainability and extension offices.

Wildland Scapes is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays. Saturday hours run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The nursery is located at 1471 E. Mill Creek Dr.

The Youth Garden Project, which is holding a plant sale from Thursday, May 1 through Saturday, May 5, is another great resource, Dohrenwend said.

Read more: Moab Times-Independent - New garden project aims to bee inspired

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