- Benee Hershon
February Community Member Spotlight: Bob & Lynn Ziman
Updated: Nov 16, 2022
A retired couple have completed the first season of their ever-growing pollinator garden and have transformed their perception of the natural world through the process!
Last year, Bob and Lynn Ziman of Swanzey, New Hampshire, took a chance to transform their property through Cheshire County Conservation District (CCCD)’s Conservation Opportunity Fund. The mission of the Conservation Opportunity Fund is to provide funding for owners of small tracts of land who are interested in improving the wildlife habitat on their property. This program is an annual opportunity to support environmental stewardship and the ecological integrity of Cheshire County, NH.
Bob and Lynn grew up with an awareness of the natural world, with Bob growing up and working on a tree farm and Lynn growing up on a farm as well. Although the couple both were familiar with gardening, the conservation opportunity fund presented an exciting and rewarding learning opportunity for the retired human resources manager and retired program manager!
After hearing about the Conservation Opportunity Fund, the couple looked out the window into their backyard. They both identified an edge of a wooded area that had the perfect amount of sunlight and would be an ideal spot for their pollinator garden. On a sheet of graph paper, they began to map out their plans.
Through the application process, they took time to research best native plants, best management practices, and soil conditions. When asked about the research process, Lynn joked, “Putting the garden in the ground was the short part, the research was the long part”.
Bob and Lynn Ziman prepare their pollinator garden site.
Utilizing resources through CCCD, UNH Cooperative Extension, and other regional resources such as Garden in the Woods, the couple thoughtfully planned a pollinator garden that would beautify their landscape, while supporting native pollinators.
Bob and Lynn explained how much the research put into their project paid off, with different perennial plants blooming in each season, and each season providing new life in their backyard.
As part of the planning process, Bob and Lynn modified their project several times, even changing the originally planned location for the pollinator garden. Through research, Bob and Lynn built relationships with local nurseries, conservation resources, and once notified of funding for their project, received a technical assistance visit from CCCD. Through this process, Bob notes, CCCD staff provided additional ideas for plants to be added to the garden, as well as consideration of the different moisture needs of the plants and consideration for the impact of wildlife on the garden, such as deer. The couple highlighted that throughout the planning and installation process, CCCD staff assured them that they were there to offer support. Although the couple both had gardening knowledge, they never felt alone in the process.
After several months of research, the couple focused two to three weeks on garden preparation and then dedicated two days to planting and a lot of hands-on hard work. Lynn notes, “What has resulted from the hard work has certainly been worth it”.
Bob and Lynn both enjoy viewing the seasonality of their garden through the window, but also have added a bench outside so that they can take in the beauty of the garden up close. They expressed the joy the garden provides, and the closer look at the natural world they have gained from the process. Bob and Lynn get to see the bees pollinate the native flowers they have planted and can observe just as the plants are sprouting in the early spring to when they are fragrant and in full bloom. They note that every time they look at the garden, there is something different to be seen and that they never know what natural wonder they are going to see when they look outside.
A pollinator on a flower in bloom in the Ziman's Garden. Image Credit: Lynn Ziman
In addition to the process of researching and planting the garden, on the encouragement of CCCD’s District Manager Amanda Littleton, Lynn decided to create a blog focused on their project. Prior to the project, Lynn had never written a blog, but captured every step of the process, as well as gorgeous photos of the progress of the garden. Lynn notes, “This process has been a learning experience for me that I want to continue into a couple other things. I learned more about native plants and insects and their requirements last year than I probably have in my entire life”.
When asked about the importance of the conservation opportunity fund, Lynn said,
“It really gave us the courage to go ahead and try to do this, because otherwise we might not have, just because we didn’t have the knowledge, but we knew that if we had questions, we could call CCCD”.
Monarch Caterpillar in the Ziman's Pollinator Garden. Image Credit: Lynn Ziman
“The skills from an average home garden are easily transferable to a pollinator garden, and you're doing so much good for the environment and local wildlife that it's well worth it. The pollinator garden is like a community too, because we are walking around our lawn and finding all kinds of other native plants since starting this project.”
On the importance of native plants, Lynn added, “If we don't have any native pollinators around, we're not going to have any food at some point”.
Bob and Lynn both expressed their gratitude for this project and experience and encouraged the community to consider implementing a project on their property through the conservation opportunity fund. Bob explained that the conservation opportunity fund is unique because there are so many different projects and needs to fit with what community members would like to accomplish on their property to benefit wildlife.
This season, Bob and Lynn look forward to enjoying their pollinator garden with the addition of an insect hotel, and a plan to begin seasonal maintenance on the garden this spring!
Bob and Lynn Ziman's completed Conservation Opportunity Fund Project. Image Credit: Lynn Ziman
Learn more about CCCD's Conservation Opportunity Fund, here: https://www.cheshireconservation.org/conservation-opportunity-fund
Read Lynn Ziman's blog on their project, here: https://zimanpollinator.blogspot.com/