On September 3, 2022, a grand opening celebration was held for The Bridges House Pollinator Garden in Concord. Members of the public enjoyed viewing a beautiful new garden that features native plant landscaping. The Bridges House Pollinator Garden has been officially certified as pollinator-friendly through UNH Extension and UMaine Extension.
The ceremony highlighted the success of an exciting collaborative project that brought together the Friends of The Bridges House nonprofit with UNH Extension Master Gardener volunteers, the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) for the state of New Hampshire and The NH Technical Institute Landscape and Environmental Design Program.
First Lady Valerie Sununu was delighted to undertake such an inspiring project and explains that the garden is to be a place of learning and sharing. “For me, this garden is a passion project. At the very foundation of our best practices for being stewards of our beautiful state is the care and attention to our plants and our pollinators. It’s our responsibility to learn about our habitat and how we can care for it. This garden will serve as a template for experienced and less experienced gardeners to build a similar garden at home,” she says.
The installation of about 1,400 pollinator-friendly plants was completed over four days by Master Gardener volunteers, Governor Sununu, his wife and their children, who all enjoyed getting their hands in the soil to help with the planting.
First Lady Sununu purchased copies of "Nature’s Best Hope" by Douglas Tallamy for the garden’s Little Free Library. The book explains the importance of incorporating more native plants in gardens to increase biodiversity and provide habitat for native pollinators and other wildlife.
The garden was made possible through contributions by Rock Crest Gardens, Dept. of Administrative Services, Bagley Pond Perennials, Raymond’s Landscaping LLC, Monarch Garden Design, LLC, UNH Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program, NHTI - Landscaping Design Program, Friends of Bridges House, Millican Nurseries, LLC, Black Forest Nursery and Swenson’s Granite. No New Hampshire taxpayer funds were used in the creation of this garden.
About The Bridges House
The Bridges House was gifted to the State of New Hampshire in 1969 by former Governor and United States Senator, Styles Bridges. Over recent years, it has been renovated and restored to its former beauty. Although this is not the actual residence of New Hampshire’s Governor, it serves as a public meeting space and event venue. For general inquiries, please contact Governor Christopher T. Sununu’s Office at (603) 271-2121.
About Pollinator Garden Certification
New Hampshire is home to a diverse array of pollinators, from charismatic bumble bees to unheralded wasps, flies and beetles. Declines of insects, native bees and birds are well documented, and habitat loss is a significant driver of those declines. UNH Extension staff and New Hampshire Master Gardener volunteers, along with community groups and concerned residents, have been taking action to protect pollinators by planting pollinator-friendly gardens and providing education for the gardening public.
Through a partnership with UMaine Extension, launched in 2021, New Hampshire gardeners and landowners can certify gardens or property as “pollinator-friendly” to ensure that gardens are providing for the needs of pollinators and to help spread the word about the importance of pollinators and how others can join this effort. Learn more.
About UNH Extension Master Gardeners
Through community projects, public presentations and the UNH Extension Infoline, Master Gardener volunteers bring education about gardening, plants, soil, insects and more to the people of New Hampshire. For questions, contact UNH Extension Master Gardener Program Manager, Ruth Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more