Couple turns Moorhead's smallest park into pollinator garden
A couple took the 0.013-acre triangle that makes up Daily Park and turned it into a pollinator garden of native plants.
MOORHEAD — The city’s smallest park was always a running joke to Amy Anderson and Eric Bailly. After high school, about the time they became sweethearts, they talked about putting up a volleyball net and a barbecue at Daily Park.
And then last year, the couple turned the traffic median, a 0.013-acre triangle, into a pollinator garden. They planted perennial plants that are native to the area like swamp milkweed, a prairie grass called side-oats grama and black-eyed Susans.
“Daily Park is really perfect, from a location standpoint, between several roads, in a position where wildlife won’t interfere with the plant life that we put there. Strategically, it is a good spot in the community, as well. There are bees, and it’s far enough away from somebody’s front door that there won’t be issues,” Bailly said.
Daily Park started in 1914, more than a century ago, when Fourth Street was paved because of increasing traffic, according to Moorhead Parks & Recreation. At that time, Michael J. Daily planted shrubs in the triangular meridian, and through the 1920s it became known as Daily Park.
In 1940, the divider was torn down, but in 1983 the street was paved again. The Daily Park sign was placed there as a joke, but in 1986 the park officially became inducted into a city park.
Bailly and Anderson adopted the park through the city of Moorhead, then they got rid of the sod and began tilling the earth. They received recommendations from the United Prairie Foundation on what plants would be the best pollinators.
Once planted, they worried about vandals and animals, but outside of a few curious rabbits, they actually discovered that every time they went to weed, neighbors came out in droves. Some helped haul water. Others offered their time and hoes.
“They were monitoring the park even when we weren’t there. We always had help,” Anderson said.
“Teenage kids helped bring water and talked with us, and it became a social encounter with people stopping by in cars just to say ‘great job,’" Bailly said. “It was reinforcing to have people stop by and say they noticed and that they were excited about pollinators and the importance of native plants.”
Their efforts were also recognized by the Moorhead City Council and Mayor Shelly Carlson, who presented the couple with the MoorHeart award in recognition of individuals who go above and beyond to demonstrate community by their actions and service. A team of volunteers from city boards and commissions selects award recipients.
Bailly and Anderson are hobbyists at gardening, with Bailly joking he's “there for the heavy physical labor."
“It was really Amy’s vision, and she and I both have a shared passion for doing what we can do to address issues related to the environment,” he said.
“We can do small things in our community that collectively can make a difference,” Anderson said.
In the warmer months when they’re not at Daily Park, Bailly works with Anthem Inc., a health care provider with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Anderson works for the Small Business Development Center at Concordia College, and they both live in Moorhead.