In Bethesda, MD, the Lincoln Property Company expanded its habitat efforts for bees and other pollinators in one of its suburban office parks.
Lincoln chose Rock Springs Business Park for its first pollinator garden, which complements the beehives on the site. The company’s team, including real estate management vice president Stuart Pechner (left), worked with Ruppert Landscape to help achieve this vision.
Below is an overview of the project and the process that contributed to this installation.
Pollinators such as birds, bats, bees, butterflies and other useful insects play a crucial role in the propagation of flowering plants and in the production of most types of fruit and vegetables. The number of pollinators has suffered from mites, pesticides, pathogens, land development and habitat fragmentation in recent decades. Thirteen years ago, a week in June was designated National Pollinator Week by the U.S. Senate. This was a step towards solving the problem of falling pollinator populations. The national pollinator week was from June 22nd to 28th in 2020.
Recently, Ruppert Landscape, based in Laytonsville, MD, in collaboration with the Lincoln Property Company, installed a sustainable pollination garden to surround newly installed beehives in Lincoln’s Rock Springs Business Park in Bethesda, MD.
As part of its tenant engagement program, Lincoln has partnered with Alvéole to develop a sustainable property initiative that tenants can take advantage of. Alveole works with businesses and schools in urban environments to install beehives, maintain bees throughout the season, run workshops with staff and students, and harvest honey. They had mainly installed beehives on rooftops in the Washington, DC area and wanted to move to the outskirts of DC. The Rock Springs property fit well due to the abundance of green spaces.
The original plan was to install the beehives on the roof, as was the case with previous installations. However, Lincoln wanted to provide better visibility not only to emphasize the commitment to sustainability, but also to create more visibility for the challenges pollinators face. They decided to make the installation a focal point of the Rock Springs landscape and to use the honey as a rental gift.
Adrian Durham, the Ruppert area manager who oversees the site’s landscaping, said he first got to know the project during a walkthrough with Lincoln real estate manager Netsai Matowe and vice president of real estate management, Stuart Pechner. “The pollinator garden should serve several purposes: provide nectar for the bees; act as a physical barrier to prevent people from coming into contact with the beehives that are surrounded by the planting; and to improve the visual appeal of the area. “
Durham consulted with Ruppert’s division manager Cate Deane to select a suitable range of plants for the project. Deane said, “I tried to select as many hardy perennials as possible to ensure that the bees had plants to support them for years.”
With customer approval, they selected a range of pollinator-friendly plant materials, including Coreopsis Citrine (tick seeds), Monarda Sugar Buzz (dwarf bee balm), Buddleia (dwarf butterfly bush), Sedum (stonecrop neon) and Lobelia Cardinalis (red cardinal) flower). These have been chosen for several reasons, including their bright colors and nectar production to attract pollinators, and their staggered flowering cycles to arouse constant interest during the spring, summer and autumn. The mixture of colors, foliage and height of growth gives a natural area its charm. The garden was created on May 22nd to give the plant material time to grow before the beehives were created on June 16th.
“Lincoln is very proud to be part of this initiative. The presentation of the honey bee garden offers tenants and visitors a wonderful addition to the property. We look forward to translating this into additional properties that we manage across the region, ”said Pechner from Lincoln.
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