Betsy Burgeson believes Chautauquans can make a big impact with small gardens.
“Such minor changes can have a humongous impact,” Burgeson said. “Everyone can do a little and that means we can do a lot.”
Burgeson, in her third year as supervisor of gardens and landscapes at Chautauqua Institution, will lead a Bird, Tree & Garden Club Lake Walk titled “Bluethumb Gardening” at 6:30 p.m. Monday starting at the lakeside porch of the Youth Activities Center.
Her walk will feature the Institution’s rain gardens and shoreline buffers and will focus on ways gardeners can improve water quality through using plants that are less expensive and require less maintenance.
Burgeson, who previously worked as a biology teacher and coordinator of the Master Gardener Program at Cornell Cooperative Extension, said she’s pleased with people’s interest in gardening that aids the environment.
“I think people are really starting to realize that their gardens here, even if it’s a little piece of property, can have a massive impact just by plant selection,” she said.
Rain gardens and shoreline buffers on the grounds use native plants to absorb excess nutrients from rainwater and keep them out of Chautauqua Lake.
“The whole goal is to manage stormwater while also gaining habitat and making it beautiful,” Burgeson said.
At the walk, Burgeson will also talk about how Chautauquans can employ water-conscious tactics on their own properties, no matter how small they may be. Solutions can be very simple, she said.
“It can just be rain barrels that you use to water your planters at the house instead of using something at the tap,” Burgeson said. “That’s an enormous help.”
Attendees can ask Burgeson any questions about gardening, whether at the Institution or in their own yards.
“I couldn’t be more proud to have Chautauquans asking questions and to be on board,” Burgeson said. “It’s pretty cool.”