Step outside the Knippenberg Center and enjoy the new Native Plant Demonstration Garden. This horticultural feature provides landscaping for the center complex and opportunities for programs about New Jersey’s native plants and how homeowners can support the environment by their landscaping choices.
Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum was awarded a $14,500 grant from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for the development of a Native Plant Demonstration Garden at Laurelwood Arboretum. The funds were supplemented with a $5,000 grant from the Ira A. Roschelle, M.D. Family Foundation.
The California-based Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust supports education and research in ornamental horticulture in publicly supported, tax-exempt organizations, primarily in North and South America. “We are thrilled to have secured this grant after a very competitive application process,” said FOLA President Alice Moskowitz. “The Native Plant Demonstration Garden will help to position Laurelwood as an important center for horticultural education in northern New Jersey and most particularly in Passaic County.”
These funds have been used to create a 6,000-square-foot garden at the front of the new Knippenberg Center for Education. This landscaped space features native plants and is designed to create habitats near the center. An interpretive sign and brochure direct visitors around the space, describing the plants, their value to the environment, and their role in the home landscape.
According to Rutgers Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet entitled, “Incorporating Native Plants in Your Residential Landscape,” native plants are species that were present at the beginning of the European settlement of North America. These are plants that, over time, have evolved to grow in a specific region.
FOLA is developing a variety of educational programs for the Native Plant Demonstration Garden. As more and more homeowners become aware of the value of native plants in the environment, they are seeking plants suitable for their own landscapes. We intend to demonstrate the best native plants for home landscape use in our region. We will also have programs to educate the general public, schoolchildren and our volunteers about the importance of native plants in our environment.
Kathleen Salisbury, President of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey, developed the original concept design and plant list. Elaine Fogerty, Executive Director of Laurelwood Arboretum and former Rutgers University County Agricultural Assistant, is finalizing the design and plant selection and implementing the project. Master Gardeners and FOLA volunteers are assisting with planting and maintenance of the garden.