In May of 2018, the Village of Downers Grove began cultivating a pollinator garden in the open areas near the Belmont underpass. The project was funded in part by a grant from the ComEd Green Region program.
To get things started, the grass inside the turnarounds at Warren Avenue and Belmont Road was replaced with sustainable native plants to attract pollinators like bees, beetles, moths, and hummingbirds. Milkweed was also planted to target Monarch butterflies, building on efforts by surrounding suburbs to develop a “Monarch corridor” along the BNSF railroad.
Thanks to a Pollinator Meadow Mix provided by the Conservation Foundation, new native plants began to emerge in the Spring of 2019. New interpretive signs were added to tell the story of the garden’s soil, root systems, native plants and inhabitants. By late summer, Purple Cone Flowers, Black Eyed Susans, Narrow Leaved Milkweed and many others were in full bloom and the hummingbirds, bees and Monarchs made regular visits.
In September, volunteers from the Pierce Downer Heritage Alliance assisted Village staff in planting additional flowers to attract pollinators, including Butterfly Weed and Prairie Blazing Star. Special thanks to volunteers Mark Bragen and Irene Hogstrom for their assistance.