Every year, a beacon of life and hope blooms in the Founders Campus’ Café Courtyard native plant garden, with showy flowers, abundant colorful fruits and seeds, and brilliant seasonal changes in colors from the pale, thin greens of early spring, to the vibrant yellows and reds of autumn. 

The garden, a cooperative project between the Lancaster County Conservancy and Moravian Manor Communities, was initiated by resident Mark Hirschman and Ron Deifenthaler, former Grounds Supervisor. Ron recruited residents Elaine Bell and Fran Hirschman for the garden planning, citing “they speak the same language … Latin plant names!” Together with Conservancy Plant Stewards, 16 species of flowers were selected that would be pleasing to all creatures, including two-legged (humans) and those with wings. 

Elaine, pleased she was invited to be involved in the project, commented, “When I moved to Moravian Manor Communities, I thought gardening was something I had given up…I never dreamed I’d be involved in it again.”

In addition to being low maintenance, native gardens help wildlife by providing a vital habitat for birds; nectar for pollinators including hummingbirds, native bees, butterflies, moths, and bats; essential seeds and fruits for other animals; and shelter for mammals. Native plants also benefit the environment and climate, needing less water and storing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

This calming little haven is a favorite retreat on campus, for staff, residents, and visitors alike for spotting butterflies and bunnies, enjoying the varied melodies of songbirds, and spending quality time with friends and family.

Thanks to the Lancaster Conservancy for helping us with this gardening project, protecting our fragile ecosystem and saving nature one project and one community at a time.