Landenberg, PA, June 15, 2022 –
American Beauties Native Plants® partnered with William H. Zeigler Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to build a native plant garden, and it was the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of June, which is National Pollinators Month. The first week of June, Peg and Steve Castorani departed Gateway Garden Center in Hockessin, DE with a sprinter van loaded to the brim with over 100 perennials, shrubs, and one swamp white oak tree for Zeigler Elementary—like a native plant version of Santa and Mrs. Claus. These plants were then planted with the students in the school's side yard and also nearby the main entrance.
When Steve Castorani, of North Creek Nurseries, and Mark Sellew, of Prides Corner Farms, started American Beauties Native Plants in 2006, the mission was clear—create a cohesive brand that would spread awareness of our native plants’ importance in the landscape. With this intent, there was always a goal to give back and support local endeavors to connect people with their natural environments. Over the years, American Beauties Native Plants® has given back to organizations whose mission is to raise awareness and spread the message of protecting and supporting the environment. Working with nationwide projects is part of the idea—but they are also devoted to giving back locally.
On installation day, the 8th graders planted an oak tree while Steve told them all about the importance of native plants, and also the benefits this oak will bring to wildlife. Later, younger grades got to get their hands dirty by planting smaller shrubs and perennials. The kindergarteners released the butterflies they raised in their classroom this past spring, and the second graders practiced their reading and writing skills by soaking in all the great information on the plant tags and journaling about their new plants. What an immense pleasure it was to see all the ways the children played, interacted with, and sincerely enjoyed their new garden space—truly making it their own.
The new Ziegler Elementary native plant garden will be a refuge for local wildlife in northeast Philadelphia and also serve as an outdoor classroom for students —as part of their curriculum is tied to lessons about reading, mathematics, science, and more! Additionally, these new gardens will bring beauty and a place of restoration for staff, pupils, and neighborhood friends that live, play, and work within this community. Leah Hood, the school’s Community Partnerships Coordinator, had this to say about the experience:
“The whole garden space looks amazing and the end result exceeded all our expectations. Our school has become a more beautiful and welcoming place because of this project. We can't wait to see the plants (and our school community) continue to grow and bloom!”
American Beauties is honored to be part of this project, and encourages everyone to celebrate National Pollinators Month. Together, we can make a difference. You + Native Plants = Stronger Pollinators and A Better World!