NORWICH TOWNSHIP — The Penn State Master Gardeners of McKean County have been working on projects throughout the county, including several at the Donald J. Comes Natural Resources Learning Center along Route 46 South, near Crosby.
Two of the projects have been completed, according to Gloria Wilson, coordinator of the master gardeners program.
“We have planted 18 raised beds with vegetables, which will be donated the food bank at Christian Community Services in Smethport,” she told The Era. “This area will be used for educational purposes, and there will be signs for individual vegetables for independent learning by the visitors.”
Additionally, Keith Adkins of Bradford, a Master Gardener and a beekeeper, has built a horizontal top-bar hive, which is placed in the newly finished bee yard at the south end of the property and is now ready for bees. Since the Comes facility is an educational center, the bee yard is to be used for instructional programs and visits from local school students.
Meanwhile, two projects are still in the developing stages.
The meadow will be a pollinator area, and plans call for it to have paths and benches for guests to enjoy the butterflies and flowers. Wilson said, “This is the start of a several-year development project for this area. Milkweed and other native plants have already been planted.”
Work is also going on in the garage area, which will be a site where the master gardeners can hold workshops and start their own plants.
In Smethport, Master Gardeners have planted the raised beds along the trail by the former Poor Farm, Route 6 west of the borough.
“Due to the COVID-19 situation,” Wilson said, “we were not able to do what we had planned to do with them, but next year, they will become ‘themed raised beds,’ and might include a bed that is planted with plants that can be used to dye cloth or one with ingredients for a pizza. For now, though, they are being maintained with native and pollinator plants.”
Wilson said much time has been spent on the Sybil Kane project in Kane, part of a multi-year project that involves reclaiming the perennial gardens and old rose gardens on the Kane knoll property and includes various groups and agencies.