UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Recent visitors to The Arboretum at Penn State may have noticed a bright blue construction fence surrounding about 3 acres of open meadow between the botanic gardens and the College Heights neighborhood. The fence delineates the future site of the Pollinator and Bird Garden, which will increase the size of the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens by about 60%.
"Following an intense collaboration between Penn State scientists and our design consultants, Didier Design Studio, we believe we have successfully married aesthetics with state-of-the-art knowledge about the biology of pollinators and birds," said Kim Steiner, director of the Arboretum and professor of forest biology in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
"The goal is unique — to attract all the region's native pollinators and the broadest possible range of bird species," he said. "No one has attempted this before, and in fact more research will be needed in years to come before our goal can be fully realized."
To that end, the Pollinator and Bird Garden will incorporate habitats such as a pond, wetlands, woodland, fruit orchard and dry meadow. Likewise, research and demonstration beds and plantings will showcase more than 390 unique plant varieties, most of which are native to Pennsylvania or the greater Appalachian region. A raised, circular meadow at the garden's main entry will serve as a distinctive centerpiece.