Butterflies and daffodils aren’t typically the first images that spring to mind when someone mentions hockey. At a sizeable community garden in Park Circle, however, players and staff from the S.C. Stingrays hockey team have devoted a few hours each month to maintaining a fertile plot of flowers and native plants.
Part of Keep North Charleston Beautiful’s (KNCB) Flowerscape Program, the Park Circle Butterfly Garden is the largest of four such flower plantings around the city, including the original bed of red roses planted at the intersection of Rivers Avenue and Ashley Phosphate Road on Valentine’s Day 2007. The Stingrays “adopted” the lush greenspace last summer, committing to its upkeep over the following year. Players take turns weeding, pruning, raking, and spreading compost. During one work day last November, they even helped a kindergarten class from the neighboring United Methodist Church plant daffodil bulbs.
“The guys understand that it’s important to develop relationships in the community,” says Stingrays team captain Matt Scherer. “I don’t know how many green thumbs we have on the roster, but it hasn’t been any trouble finding guys willing to help.”
And they’re not only growing a beautiful place to butterfly watch—this space was also designed as a source of inspiration for home gardeners. “We used largely native trees and perennials, and each is labeled so that locals can get ideas for what will grow well in their own greenspaces,” says Carmen Hanlon, KNCB director. It sounds like these Stingrays are planting strong roots in the community indeed. — Stratton Lawrence