Jill Trunko (left) and Emily DeBolt help install native plants for a new demonstration garden at the Lake George town hall.
As yet another ecological initiative of the Lake George Town Board, a new garden of all-native plants has been installed at the town hall.
Town workers and Lake George Association employees recently planted more than 25 native species in the demonstration garden, town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson said.
‘‘We want to encourage residents of the town to learn about the many types of beautiful native plants available and incorporate them into their home gardens,’’ he said.
The project started out to curb stormwater from flowing from the town hall parking lot into a pond below the town hall.
A series of drywells were installed at the suggestion of Dean Moore of the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District. coordinating the proect were Randy Rath of the Lake George Association, Lake George Town Buildings & Grounds manager Jim Martino, and Moore.
Town officials decided to take the project a step further by creating a demonstration garden of native plants. The LGA donated about $4,000 in total toward both projects.
LGA employees and town officials say that visitors to the town hall will be able to see what can be done not only prevent erosion problems on their own properties, but to also boost the lake’s health. The demonstration garden will eventually have signs to help people find plants that will be appropriate for their own yards.
Rath said that stormwater is the primary pollutant of Lake George. He added that the deep roots of native plants absorb and filter runoff more effectively than the roots of many turf grasses and other ornamental plants. Because natives have evolved in the local environment over centuries, they have already adapted to survive here, he said, adding that these native species are low maintenance and don’t need chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or much watering.
Town employees have noticed that hummingbirds and butterflies have already adopted the garden, board member Marisa Muratori said.
“It’s been a delight,” she said.
LGA employee Emily DeBolt said that homeowners are encouraged by landscapers or nurseries to purchase plants that may be attractive but are not the best for the local environment.
‘‘Many of the popular non-native species people plant such as burning bush or shrubby honeysuckle may seem harmless, but when a bird eats their fruit and spreads their seeds the plants propagate and soon crowd out the native species, reducing the biodiversity needed to keep the forest ecologically healthy,” she said, adding that Lake George’s water quality depends on the health of its off-shore landscape.
Native plants come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, she said. Some provide interest in all four seasons. Many attract hummingbirds, butterflies or birds. There are species that are salt tolerant and others that are deer resistant, she added.