The Two Harbors City Council approved an extension of a planting plan to include three more city spaces at the regular city council meeting on Monday, March 9.
The city had previously approved the planting of a pollinator garden in front of the Two Harbors Community Center in partnership with Community Partners, Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Lake County Master Gardeners, and Shoreview Natives. The project is being extended to include the Two Harbors Public Library back lawn, a space around the Two Harbors city entrance sign and around the backside of the R.J. Houle center and bathhouse.
"Each planting will be around $10,000 and are already funded," said Mackenzie Hogfeldt, a forester with Lake County Soil and Water. "They will also be in conjunction with the very large planting at the county building which has already been accepted. Most of the green space, except the space immediately in front of the courthouse, is going to be a tiered pollinator garden of a variety of colors."
The project is funded primarily through the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, or LCCMR, according to Hogfeldt. But there is a bit of a deadline crunch as the funding needs to be spent and the plants planted by June 30.
"It's a fast timeline, but we can accomplish it," Hogfeldt said.
Once planted, the gardens would become city property and be maintained by the city. But Hogfeldt and Dan Schutte, of Shoreview Natives, said the native plants would be monitored for the first year or so to ensure proper growth.
Councilor Jackie Rennwald asked if there were measures in place to ensure the plants would not become a "deer buffet."
"We’ve had varying degrees of success. It seems like some years the deer like certain species of plants, then the next year the plant in the same space won’t get touched by a deer," Schutte said. "We’ve put in an organic deer deterrent called Plantskydd and it’s pretty effective. We used that at Castle Danger Brewery and that seemed to do a really good job of keeping things off."
Also like Castle Danger Brewery, Hogfeldt said the first year planting might look a little spread out, but they'd grow and fill in the space and "become more robust."
Councilor Robin Glaser asked if it would hurt the plants if an unwitting six-year-old picked a bouquet for their mother?
"It’s not desirable, but most people deter others from picking installations of plants," Hogfeldt said.
Schutte added that it shouldn't compromise the planting too much.
"And from an educational standpoint, I think it's better if kids are in the space checking it out," Schutte said. "If we lose a flower or two, it should be OK."
Approval of the project passed unanimously and it is expected to begin once the ground is thawed enough for plantings.