MORRIS – The city of Morris and Canal Port Park got more beautiful on Sunday.
With the help of the Grundy County Community Foundation and Three Rivers Association of Realtors, the Conservation Foundation and a small group of volunteers planted a butterfly garden on Illinois Avenue between Calhoun and Fulton streets.
“It was quite a job,” said Jamie Viebach, Will County director for the Conservation Foundation. “The original plan was to have more community involvement with the planting, but with the way things are now, we decided that seven of us would tackle it Sunday.”
Viebach said the garden originally was a memorial for Karen Olson and that the city of Morris was taking care of it. However, it had fallen into a bit of disarray over time.
“I had heard of this project from Lindy Kowsky,” Viebach said. “I am the Will County director for the Conservation Foundation, so it didn’t really fall in my area. I put her in touch with Gideon Blustein, who lives in Coal City and was doing a lot of work on his home with native plants. He got a grant from Three Rivers Realtors Association, and I was able to get a grant from the Community Foundation of Grundy County.”
The volunteers planted donations of about 400 native, pollinator-friendly plants, which were received from Twixwood Nurseries, Midwest Groundcovers and Taylor Creek Nurseries.
“The plants are native to the area, and that helps the ecosystem and watershed,” Viebach said. “We want to educate people on why native plants are important to the environment. We also will have a sign put in soon that explains why the butterflies are important to the ecosystem as well.
“These plants will help attract a wide variety of birds and butterflies and will bloom throughout the growing seasons, providing color and respite for those traveling along the canal trails.”
In addition to the plants, the garden also got a new accessible pathway installed with stone blocks to edge it.