Butterfly Garden Coming to Greer City Park

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Monday, February 11

As the only designated Monarch City in South Carolina, the City of Greer will soon be home to the Nancy Welch Memorial Butterfly garden.

Planned for Greer City Park, the garden will take shape with funds from the Make Greer Great Grant.

The project was organized by the garden clubs in Greer with a goal of giving butterflies, bees, and other local pollinators a place to survive and thrive.

“We are working on getting a butterfly bench. It’ll be big. It’s white and it’s heavy and it’s beautiful,” said Donna Yarborough, President of the Greer Council of Garden Clubs (GCGC).

Greer Middle College Charter High School (GMC) is partnering with the Greer Council of Garden Clubs to plan and maintain the garden plot.

“We’re thinking about putting huge pavers in here with mondo grass in between so that you can walk up to the bench and take a picture, whatever,” Yarborough said. “Then, we will have all of this planted in really pretty kind of pinks, that sort of thing. It will change in the seasons. We’ll put in pansies; then, we’ll put in the winter cabbage.”

The garden will be named for Nancy Welch, an Upstate icon and avid gardener, who passed away last year.

“Nancy Welch was a member of the Primrose Garden Club. Just days before she passed away, she did the program. It was on Monet’s gardens,” Yarborough said. “She just did an excellent job. After that, I just decided that we want to start some programs with the city.”

To celebrate Welch’s accomplishments, GCGC, working with Greer City Parks and Recreation Department, will create a memorial garden landscaped with native plants for the butterflies.

“Just received a call from Kristen Welch who said the family so appreciates what the Garden Clubs and the City are doing to honor Nancy,” said Yarborough, who has been in touch with the family. “She wanted me to express to everyone how flattered they felt.”

Nancy Welch’s friends and community members will provide a meditation butterfly bench, and Greer Middle College will adopt the garden as a school project.

Educational

At GMC, Principal Fred Crawford and Environmental Science Teacher Keith McCaskill are working with the city and garden clubs to maintain the garden.

“To make it educational, each plant will have the names of the plant because there’s one plant that no one’s ever seen,” Yarborough said. “It’s called Turk’s cap. It is the neatest.”

“So, it’s an education place as well as memorial and butterfly garden,” Yarborough said.

Last Thursday, Yarborough met McCaskill and Renee Craddock, parent, at the garden site in order to plan the layout.

“When my kids were going to Shannon forest, we did a garden there,” Craddock said. “They went to another christian school, Blue Ridge Christian Academy, we did one at that school as well.”

McCaskill, Environment Science Teacher and Master Gardener, knows Yarborough through a few different avenues, including the Master Gardener program as well as the school.

“I’m presently working on a weed unit with them (his students) so that they can identify what a weed is. We’re looking at winter weeds right now,” McCaskill said. “We’re in the process of getting some raised beds, and we’ll do a whole soil unit, so I try to do things that are going to help them and hopefully empower them to have their own garden.”

“I’ve had some kids who’ve decided to start their own little garden because of what they were taught in my class,” he said. “We aren’t just sitting here worried about the global issues; this is real life; this is how it applies and how you can make a difference.”

The environmental students will learn in a real world setting and earn service hours for their participation.

“Our students have to volunteer basically 50 hours a year of community service,” McCaskill said. “This would be an excellent opportunity for them to be able to do some things and get their volunteer hours in.”

As a requirement for graduation, students have to do 50 service hours a year or 200 prior to graduation.

“This will fulfill that requirement; plus, it gives them a way to give back to the community,” said GMC Principal Fred Crawford.

“It’s hands on experience when you’re looking at an environmental science class,” he said. “It fits well with the curriculum as well.”

Crawford has worked with both Yarborough and Nancy Welch; he produced informational and promotions with Welch.

“I knew Nancy, but I didn’t know her well, but when we started doing those shows together with tech channel, I got to know her pretty well,” Crawford said. “We became good friends.”

“A lot of us who’ve been in the Greer community for a while really respected and think highly of Nancy,” Crawford said. “I hope we do a great job.”

Monarch

Mayor Rick Danner signed up Greer as a Monarch City last year in honor of his mother, who passed away from cancer over 30 years ago.

“One of her lasting legacy’s in our family was her love of butterflies,” Mayor Danner said last year. “She and my dad had a mountain home outside of Hendersonville, and when the butterflies would migrate, they would ride the wind currents up the face of the mountain.”

“I never had any intention of trying to take the designation citywide,” he said. “I just did it in memory of my mom. Nevertheless, if we decide to embrace the designation, I hope it will inspire others.”

The designation has now inspired Yarborough to help the city embrace the designation.

“It’s a Monarch City,” Yarborough said of Greer. “This is going to be the first one. Then, we’re going to see about doing some programs at the library, working with the city, the senior programs, the after school programs, just educating the city about monarchs, the needs, maybe at the different festivals, have a booth that gives out information, try to get the city to buy some monarch city signs to put up and just kind of embrace that idea.”

Next Steps

The Memorial Butterfly Garden is currently in the planning phase of the project with the city waiting on the proposed design from Yarborough.

“We need to get a landscape plan to the city because even though it’s a tiny little place, Mr. Driggers really wants to keep this particular park in good shape,” Yarborough said. “He wants to make sure that it fits in, so we’re looking at memorial over here and kind of whimsical over here.”

“When things die down, the bench will still have color; we’ll still see if we can have some more color in here,” she said. “We won’t have any butterflies in the winter time.”

But in the summertime, the plants will attract all kinds of butterflies, including monarchs, as well as bees and other pollinators.

“That Turk’s cap will bring in your hummingbirds,” Yarborough said. “It’s really a neat plant, and almost all of these plants I have in my yard, so there are just a few that we’ll have to purchase, use the grant to purchase.”

Partnership for Tomorrow (PFT) recently chose four recipients for the 2018-2019 Make Greer Great Grant, and the Memorial Butterfly Garden was one of those projects.

“We’ll use the grant to make sure that we buy a plaque that tells what the garden is and who all has been involved in setting it up, that sort of thing,” Yarborough said.

A timeline for the project is yet to be determined.

 

Written by Kaelyn Cashman, The Greer Citizen

Investors mentioned in this post

City of Greer, Partnership for Tomorrow

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