The Merritt Rotary Club is revamping the former rose garden in its namesake park, looking to attract collaborators, donors, and, most importantly, pollinators. The garden was originally dedicated to Princess Diana, before being rededicated in recent years to Liz Laird, a late Merritt radio station owner and avid volunteer. 

The new local effort is part of a Rotary District 5060 wide effort to create a mappable ‘Pollinator Garden Highway’ throughout the district, which spans from southern B.C. to southern Washington State. Merritt Rotary said it looks to collaboratively engage like minded groups, organizations, and individuals to partner with them to build the garden.

“It will have perennials, and be augmented each year with annuals, and Rotary will do our best to look after it,” said Melodie Grabner, president-elect of Merritt Rotary.

“It’s all pollinator plants that are going in. Nothing that’s invasive, there will be no milkweed or any of that type of stuff. On our website, we’ve put a list of all the plants we’re looking for.”

A pollinator garden is a type of garden designed to grow specific nectar and pollen-producing plants to attract pollinators such as birds, bees, butterflies, moths, and flies, which are essential to the local ecosystem. Out of four beds currently designated for the rose garden, only two have roses remaining, as the garden has struggled in recent years. Grabner hopes to use locally sourced and donated plants to plant the new pollinator garden.

A list of preferred plants, both perennial and annual, and planned planting dates for the new garden are available on the Merritt Rotary website. The service club is inviting the community to get involved with the new project in any way they are able.

“Pollinator gardens are a community gathering place where volunteers from partner organizations can build relationships while working side by side,” reads the site. 

“The garden can function as an educational site for youth and encourage community service. We want to make this a community wide project involving, gardeners, naturalists, environmentalists, youth, artists, influencers and educators.”For more information, got to under ‘Our Projects.’