Master gardeners Diane Caldwell and Richard Putnam plant 14 trees, several of which were winterberry, at the Donald J. Comes Natural Resources Learning Center on Route 46 South near Crosby.

NORWICH TOWNSHIP — The McKean County Master Gardeners have completed some activities at the Donald J. Comes Natural Resources Learning Center on Route 46, north of Crosby.

In November, the gardeners planted various species of trees and several varieties of shrubs that will help define that area on the lower side of the property where the gardeners have responsibilities.

Gloria Wilson, coordinator of the McKean County Master Gardener program, spoke to The Era about projects planned for this specific area.

“We have prepared almost twice the number of raised beds that will be available next year, and this expansion will allow us to donate more produce to the Christian Community Services food bank in Smethport,” Wilson said. “Last year we donated more than 150 pounds of food.”

These raised beds will be used as demonstration gardens with signs providing information about the plants and their care for visitors to read during their self-guided tours.

The meadow will be developed with the addition of pollinator plants which will result in a more attractive area for bees and butterflies, said Wilson, who took over as coordinator of the MG program in late August. Paths will be made through the meadow providing access to all of its parts. Several benches are to be placed along the paths.

“The main goal of these projects is to educate the public,” Wilson noted.

Comes, a well-known horticulturist and native of McKean County, bequeathed 41 acres of his property to Penn State Extension to offer learning experiences for youths and adults in topics of renewable natural resources through experiences such as hands-on demonstrations and study sites.

“I’m excited to see the developments the Master Gardeners will be doing at the Comes Center,” said Rob Dickinson of Smethport, local client relations manager for Penn State Extension. “One key component of the learning center is incorporating the Master Gardener, 4-H and forestry programs.”

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