The Council Bluffs Parks and Recreation Department is adding a native pollinator garden to Bayliss Park.
The Bayliss Park Native Pollinator Garden is located on the southeast side of the park and features brick paths and picnic tables that encourage people to interact and explore the garden. The Horticulture and Grounds division will plant more than 700 native perennial plants in the landscape beds around May 15.
"We are establishing pollinator landscapes within our parks and trails to increase riparian native planting areas and native prairie plantings," said Parks and Recreation Director Vincent Martorello. "Over the last two years, we have planted several species to attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds at City Hall, Twin City Park, Council Bluffs Public Library, Union Pacific Museum, and along the FIRST AVE trail."
The Parks and Recreation Department established the first habitat corridor at Valley View Park in 2020. Today the corridor serves as a designated area for pollinators and increases the area's biodiversity. The Valley View Prairie is a nine-acre native planting area encompassing three parcels. One parcel is within Valley View Park and provides public access. The other two parcels are north of Valley View Park and do not have public access. Educational signs describe the importance of pollinator landscapes to the community.
The City of Council Bluffs received a Bee City USA® designation in May of 2022, recognizing its commitment to improving landscapes for pollinators. Bee City USA is an initiative of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a nonprofit organization based in Portland, Oregon, with offices nationwide. Bee City USA's mission is to galvanize communities to sustain pollinators by providing them with healthy habitats rich in a variety of native plants and free of insecticides.
The new Bayliss Park Native Pollinator Garden is a demonstration garden highlighting the use of native plants in a landscape. This garden shows how native plants can be incorporated and used in a residential or commercial landscape.
Native plants and flowers are typically hardier than non-native species. Once established, the right native plant in the right location requires no watering, no fertilizer, and no pest control, resulting in healthier green spaces for pets and people and healthier soils, rivers, and streams.
"Native plants do not just beautify neighborhoods; they add rich biodiversity to the urban habitat, improving human connection with landscape and wildlife," said Martorello.
Many varieties of native plants or hybrids of native plants are suitable for use within a maintained landscape. Planting tips and resources are available on the City's website at cbparksandrec.org.
The mission of the City of Council Bluffs is to continuously improve the quality of life and attractiveness of the City of Council Bluffs.