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In late 2008, I planted a demonstration pollinator garden at Chatham Mills to provide forage from early spring to late fall for pollinators such as honey bees, native bees, butterflies, flower flies, hummingbirds, beetles, and other beneficial insects. The garden features over 225 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. Below you can see photos of the pollinator garden from early April through mid-May. There are over 60 species in bloom in mid-May!
Wild pink, also called sticky catchfly among other things (Silene caroliniana). Photo by Debbie Roos.
Close-up of wild pink. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Wooly Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia tomentosa). This is the host plant for the pipevine swallowtail butterfly. Photo by Debbie Roos.
I spotted the first black swallowtail caterpillar of the year in mid-April on its native host plant, golden alexander (Zizia aurea). Photo by Debbie Roos.
‘Carolina Moonlight’ Baptisia with yucca (Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’) in the foreground. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Golden alexander (Zizia aurea) with downy phlox (Phlox pilosa). Photo by Debbie Roos.
Narrow-leaf Carolina phlox (Phlox carolina spp. angusta) in front of wild indigo. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Wild indigo (Baptisia x ‘Carolina Moonlight’) with golden alexander (Zizia aurea), yarrow (Achilles millefolium ‘Paprika’), and spiderwort (Tradescantia). Photo by Debbie Roos.
The first monarch caterpillar of the year was spotted in late April on common milkweed. Photo by Debbie Roos.
This leafcutter bee was foraging on dwarf wild indigo (Baptisia minor). She enjoys her nectar reward, gently balancing on the anthers which transfer pollen to the branched hairs on the underside of her abdomen. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Jumping spider on ‘Paprika’ yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Photo by Debbie Roos.
One of my favorite bee balms…wild bergamot (Monarda bradburiana). It prefers partial sun. Photo by Debbie Roos.
‘Flamethrower’ redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Flamethrower’). This variety was developed by NCSU Horticulture Professor Dennis Werner. Each week multiple visitors stop me in the garden and ask about it. The foliage color is just stunning! Photo by Debbie Roos.
Buttonbush, Carolina narrow-leaf phlox, wild indigo, eastern bluestar, and evening primrose. Photo by Debbie Roos.
Bumble bee foraging on wild indigo. Photo by Debbie Roos.
American lady caterpillar on its host plant, pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia). Photo by Debbie Roos.
Piedmont Barbara’s buttons (Marshallia obovata) with downy phlox (Phlox pilosa). Photo by Debbie Roos.
White wild indigo (Baptisia alba) and Carolina lupine (Thermopsis villosa). Photo by Debbie Roos.
Leafcutter bee foraging on mountain Indian-physic (Gillenia trifoliatus)! Photo by Debbie Roos.
Lady beetle larva feeding on oleander aphids on common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Photo by Debbie Roos.
I’m pretty infatuated with white wild indigo (Baptisia alba). Photo by Debbie Roos.
I’ve always been drawn to the bronze fennel (Foeniculum rubrum) flower buds unfurling…otherworldly beauty! Photo by Debbie Roos.
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Photo by Debbie Roos.
The appropriately named redring milkweed (Asclepias variegata). Photo by Debbie Roos.
Raindrops on curlyheads (Clematis ochroleuca). Photo by Debbie Roos.