Fall in the Pollinator Garden

— Written By

Photos by Debbie Roos, Chatham County Cooperative Extension

In late 2008, I planted a demonstration pollinator garden at Chatham Mills to provide forage habitat for pollinators such as honey bees, native bees, butterflies, flower flies, hummingbirds, beetles, and other beneficial insects. The garden features over 178 unique species of perennials, 85% of which are native to North Carolina. The garden is a great teaching tool that I use to conduct workshops and tours for hundreds of folks each year. It has taught me so much and I enjoy sharing this knowledge with others.

A good pollinator garden provides forage from early spring through late fall. Below you can see photos of plants that were in bloom from early September through late November. On the last day of November there are still 15 species in bloom! Take a look below to see who has been visiting these late bloomers. I also love fall for the beautiful textures of the flower seed heads that help nourish our songbirds and other wildlife.

For more photos, see The Amazing Diversity of Critters in the Pollinator Garden.

For more information:

Pollinator Paradise Garden website

Slide Show of Pollinator Garden: Take a Virtual Tour!

What’s in Bloom in the Pollinator Garden – updated bi-weekly!

List of Plants in the Pollinator Garden

Top 25 Native Pollinator Plants for North Carolina

You know fall is here when American beautyberries purple up!

American beautyberries (Callicarpa americana) starting to purple up in early September.

Monarch caterpillars on common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) in mid-September.

Monarch caterpillars feasting on common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) in mid-September.

Soldier beetles enjoying the smooth aster (Symphyotrichum laeve 'Bluebird) and perennial geraniums in late September.

Soldier beetles enjoying the smooth aster (Symphyotrichum laeve ‘Bluebird) and perennial geraniums in late September.

Honey bee on Maryland golden aster (Chrysopis mariana).

Honey bee on Maryland golden aster (Chrysopis mariana) in early October.

Carpenter bee on dwarf Tartarian aster (Aster tartaricus 'Jin Dai') in early October.

Carpenter bee on dwarf Tartarian aster (Aster tartaricus ‘Jin Dai’) in early October.

Syrphid fly on American clasping aster (Symphyotrichum patens) in the pollinator garden in mid-October.

Syrphid fly on American clasping aster (Symphyotrichum patens) in mid-October.

Monarch chrysalis on downy goldenrod in mid-October.

Monarch chrysalis on downy goldenrod (Solidago puberula) in mid-October.

Here's the monarch that emerged one day later from the chrysalis pictured above.

Here’s the monarch that emerged one day later from the chrysalis pictured above.

The Purple Dome New England aster looks gorgeous in front of the Amsonia displaying its golden yellow fall color.

The New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’) looks gorgeous in front of Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) displaying its golden yellow fall color in late October.

Bumble bee foraging on white goldenrod (Solidago bicolor) in the pollinator garden in late October.

Bumble bee foraging on white goldenrod (Solidago bicolor) in late October.

Spotted horsemint (Monarda punctata) and rough-leaf goldenrod (Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’) in late October.

Sweet combo of native climbing aster and coral honeysuckle in the pollinator garden in mid-November

Sweet combo of native climbing aster (Ampelaster carolinianus) and coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) in mid-November.

Syrphid fly on narrowleaf silkgrass (Pityopsis graminifolia) in late November.

Syrphid fly on narrowleaf silkgrass (Pityopsis graminifolia) in late November. Ths silkgrass has been blooming for over two months!

The late November chubby seedheads of Maryland golden aster (Chrysopis mariana) are as golden as the blooms!

The late November chubby seedheads of Maryland golden aster (Chrysopis mariana) are as golden as the blooms!

The climbing aster (Ampelaster carolinianus) is a beast and is grand central station for all the pollinators in late November. This is the north side of the vine - the south side is covered in blooms!

The climbing aster (Ampelaster carolinianus) is a beast and is grand central station for all the pollinators in late November. This is the north side of the vine – the south side is covered in blooms!

Metallic green sweat bee on climbing aster (Ampelaster carolinianus) in late November.

Metallic green sweat bee on climbing aster (Ampelaster carolinianus) in late November.

Gorgeous seedheads of bee balm and ironweed.

Gorgeous seedheads of bee balm (Monarda fistulosa) and ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) in late November.