Hastings Park Garden

A Demonstration Native plant Garden at Hastings Park

In June 2023, volunteers with Lexington Living Landscapes installed a demonstration native plant pollinator garden at Hastings. Please stop by to see it! You’ll find it by the memorial stone at the junction of Massachusetts Avenue and Worthen Road near Lexington Center.

The purpose of the garden is three-fold: (i) to educate people about the importance of native plants to pollinators and other wildlife, (ii) to showcase native plants that people might want to add to their own gardens, and (iii) to create a visually pleasing display of plants that have a succession of bloom times and offer multi-season interest as well.

Establishing the garden in 2023

Like any perennial garden, the project is a work in progress. Perennials take a couple of years to become well established. There’s an old saying with perennials: The first year they sleep, the second year they creep, the third year they leap! In 2023, our plants established good roots. 

Steps along the way: clearing turf grass.

Bringing in healthy topsoil.

Arranging plants per our design plans.

Planting and adding a low fence (and later, mulching).

Just after planting in spring 2023.

Low fencing kept rabbits out, allowing plants to grow well

By summer 2023, plants have grown and are filling in the space.

There's a lot of plant variety!

After a gentle spring cleanup in 2024, the plants are growing well!

During winter and spring, you may notice tall dry stems, which could be seen as untidy. Why weren’t the dead stems and brush cut back to the ground in an autumn clean up? This is intentional! The inside of pithy stems can shelter native pollinators that overwinter in pupal and egg life stages.


Some butterflies overwinter as pupae attached to dry stems and bushes. Native solitary female bees lay eggs in a compartmentalized nest in hollow plant stems; these grow to emerge in the spring and even into the summer. Even with a gentle cleanup in the very late spring, we will leave many of the dried stems upright and intact. Native species including bee balm, blazing star, and cone flowers have a stem structure which lends itself well for native cavity-nesting bees. Visit the Xerces Society Leave the Leaves page for photographs of these nesting sites. 

What do you observe in your garden?  What do you observe at the Hastings Park Pollinator Garden?

Gentle spring cleanup in 2024: spreading leaf mulch around emerging plants. As the plants grow larger, they will produce more stems to leave for overwintering insects. 

Leave the leaves--we just added leaf mulch on top of the fallen leaves.

Plant labels will help you identify species even before the flowers emerge.

As plants re-emerge and grow through spring, the garden fills in beautifully.

Which of these species might look good in your yard? Being native, they are adapted to our New England weather and soil, and help provide food and shelter for the many insects and other wildlife that have evolved with them over eons, helping fuel local food chains and keeping our ecosystems healthy.


As of September 1, 2023 here are the species we’ve planted, identified in the garden by name tags:

Anise Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum

Anise-scented Goldenrod, Solidago odora

Blue Wild Indigo, Baptisia australis

Bluestar, Amsonia hubrichtii

Bushy Bluestem, Andropogon glomeratus

Butterfly Milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa

Culver's Root, Veronicastrum virginicum

Dense Blazing Star, Liatris spicata

Foxglove Beardtongue, Penstemon digitalis

Golden Alexanders, Zizia aurea

Narrow-leaved Mountain Mint, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium

Prairie Dropseed, Sporobolus heterolepis

Purple Lovegrass, Eragrostis spectabilis

Pussytoes, Antennaria plantaginifolia

Spotted Beebalm, Monarda puncata

Three-lobed Coneflower, Rudbeckia triloba

Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa

Close up photos were taken in the garden. Come on by and take a close look for yourself!

The plants were sourced from Bagley Pond Perennials in Warner, New Hampshire and Native Plant Trust in Framingham. If you would like to purchase any of these species for your own yard, see these and other sources listed on our Where to Buy Plants page.

We want to express our gratitude to the Lexington Department of Public Works for logistical help in preparing the site, and to the Lexington Field and Garden Club for their generous financial help in underwriting many of the expenses.