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A Pollinator Habitat Born of Collaboration


June 01, 2021

The Club, the Museum, the Scout, and the Community

The Forbes House Museum, a Greek Revival mansion built by a successful shipping merchant in 1833 and open to the public since 1964 as a China Trade museum, has an executive director who wanted to improve its landscape with a pollinator garden. An Eagle Scout candidate needed a service project and spoke with the museum director. Maltby & Co., a local landscaping service company was looking for a way to contribute to the community. A conversation with a member of the Milton Garden Club (MGC) proved to be the catalyst. Embodying The Garden Club of America’s (GCA) values of collaboration and engagement, MGC became the hub that coordinated these and other aspects of a civic project that is now a beautiful pollinator habitat and native plant garden.

MGC has a history of caring for town landmarks. The Forbes House Museum’s ongoing volunteer program provided that critical component and allowed the club to concentrate on sharing its members’ expertise on plants, soil, and garden siting with the Eagle Scout candidate.  

Under MGC’s oversight, the cooperating groups researched native plants, visited other gardens and created native plant lists. The Eagle Scout candidate created a timeline, sited the garden, measured and marked the two beds, and activated a cadre of other scouts and friends to help with installation. He also raised funds to purchase a bird bath and a plaque. Maltby & Co. provided crucial machinery, excavating know-how, and mulch. In keeping with Covid-19 protocols, all of the work was accomplished outside, properly masked and distanced. Plants were sourced from the native plant and rain gardens at Milton’s Mass Audubon Blue Hills Trailside Museum and Nature Center, a GCA Partners For Plants site. Native plants were also contributed by the Eagle Scout candidate, Boy Scout Troop 5, MGC member gardens, and the Mary May Cinney Wakefield Arboretum.


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