Let’s talk about some important friends in our ecosystem… the pollinators. This week is National Pollinator Week, which is an annual celebration to raise awareness for pollinator health and ways to help protect them.
Pollinators are any living thing that moves pollen from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma of a flower for reproduction. More than three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants depend on animal pollinators. Why is this important? Thirty-five percent of the world’s food crops count on animal pollinators to reproduce.
We’re highlighting some local pollinator hot spots that are Monarch Waystation certified and suggesting a few native plants to add to your garden to help keep our bees, butterflies, and birds satisfied.
🦋 Pollinator gardens
The City of Oaks has 27 registered Monarch Waystations (habitats for the monarch butterfly + other pollinators). We chose four spots where we have seen pollinators thrive. Lookout for the Monarch Waystation sign to locate the habitat.
- Durant Nature Preserve, 8305 Camp Durant Rd. | This preserve features a butterfly garden + a bird garden.
- Walnut Creek Wetland Park, 950 Peterson St. | Get inspiration for your own garden from this waystation featuring bundles of wild bergamot.
- Thomas G. Crowder Woodland Center, 5611 Jaguar Park Dr. | Developed by the North Carolina Arboretum, the garden is also an ecoEXPLORE hot spot.
- Raleigh Convention Center, 500 S. Salisbury St. | Spot buzzing bees and insects at this downtown garden.
🐝 Pollinators dig these plants
Help keep pollinators happy + healthy (while adding color to your garden) by planting native flowering plants like the ones below. Logan’s Garden Shop + Atlantic Gardening have a great variety of seeds, plants, and tools to choose from.
- Asters are purple flowers that bloom in late summer.
- Wild Bergamot, also known as “bee balm,” blooms in clusters of lavender, pink, and white flowers.
- Coneflowers (AKA echinacea) are part of the daisy family and are resilient, upright perennials.
- Milkweed is another native perennial flower that provides a wealth of nourishment to pollinators.
- Sunflowers have been dubbed as “pollinator superheroes” because they are an abundant source of pollen and nectar.
Pro tip: Plant these flowers in groups with full sun and stay away from insecticides.
The Greenway Maintenance Division recently planted four acres of sunflowers, zinnias, and cosmos in 17 locations across the Capital Area Greenway to assist our pollinator friends.
🌼 Pollinator Week events
- Bee Downtown Scavenger Hunt | Thurs., June 23 | 6-8 p.m. | NCMA | Free | Celebrate National Pollinator Week with a pollinator-themed scavenger hunt.
- Moore Square Market | Sun., June 26 | 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | Moore Square, 200 S. Blount St. | Free | Pick up a pollinator-friendly plant from the Raleigh Parks information table while supplies last.