The Jefferson Memorial Park fieldhouse at 4822 N. Long Ave. as seen March 29, 2022. Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago

JEFFERSON PARK — A months-long effort to create a community pollinator and native plant garden in Jefferson Park will soon begin planting.

Jefferson Memorial Park, 4822 N. Long Ave., is home to the first community garden recognized by the Park District in the neighborhood. Resident Stephanie Livingston worked with neighbors and the district supervisor to create a community garden in the park to provide more native plants for insects while educating kids on the importance of pollinators and connecting the community.

The district approved the garden application last week, which means work can begin to prepare and plant in the garden plots around the field house, Livington said.

After working since March to make the garden a reality, the mother of two said the approval from the city made her “elated.”

“I’m glad to be able to finally put some plants in the earth [and] even happier to have established such wonderful relationships with neighbors,” Livingston said.

A virtual native plant lesson is 10:30 a.m. Saturday in anticipation of the planting event.

Then, on Sunday, the garden team will plant native plants and do plot maintenance during the farmers market. For more information on the event or to volunteer, visit the garden’s Facebook page. Volunteers must also fill out a waiver from the Park District.

The first planting will see coneflowers, milkweed, blazing stars, bergamot and obedient plants put in around the field house bench and on the south side of the building, Livingston said.

Five plots near the Jefferson Park fieldhouse will be home to the first community pollinator garden, including this plot near Higgens and Long. Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago

Livingston’s 10-year-old son, Xenith, inspired her to create a pollinator garden at the park. During the height of the pandemic, the family spent time at the playground, where bees buzzed around the fields. Xenith would tell other children at the park not to be afraid of bees.

“He calls himself the bee whisperer and wants to be a beekeeper when he grows up,” Livingston said.

Plots near the park’s field house are perfect for the gardens because they are centrally located in the community, are unused and are close to the bees, Livingston said.

A forestry mulching event is also scheduled for Aug. 3 at the park building by Linder Avenue.

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