Pollinator gardening has become a popular hobby for many people. Where pollinator gardens are both beautiful and beneficial it doesn’t take long for things to get out of control. Plants can get overcrowded very fast. This is where the garden bed renovation comes in. Almost every year one of the Butterfly Garden beds gets a facelift. A redo. Sometimes it’s easier to start over.
This year it was bed RPND-3’s turn. RPND – 3 (Reflecting Pond North of Thayer Center bed 3) overlooks the lower pond on the west side of the butterfly garden. As you can tell from the picture below, things were starting to get a little out of control. Over the years, we would manage the space by pulling weeds, deadheading spent flowers, and mulching, but after a while it became chaos.
During the warmer periods this past winter, we were fortunate to be able to remove a lot of the overgrown plants. When spring came around, we were left with weeds and some herbaceous material that we removed with the help of the amazing Butterfly Garden volunteers. That left us with a clean slate to create a new design.
Over the winter, we selected our plants (pollinator friendly, of course) and drew up a new design. We have been planting as plants are received. Some plants that are new to the garden are:
- Oxydendrum arboreum (sourwood) which boasts beautiful fall color and clusters of white flowers that are beneficial to bees.
- Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii ‘Marleen’ (snowberry) which pink flowers attract pollinators and berries give winter interest and food for overwintering birds.
- Spiraea alba (meadowsweet) has white fuzzy flowers that are loved by pollinators, and it is also the larval host plant to the spring azure butterfly, Celastrina ladon.
The picture above shows what we have planted so far. We are still waiting for a few other species that will arrive this fall. Come visit the Arlene and Arthur S. Holden Butterfly Garden to see our progress.
Lori Gogolin has been a horticulturist for Holden Forests and Gardens since 2010. She creates and manages healthy habitats for plants and pollinators in the Arlene and Arthur S. Holden Jr. Butterfly Garden. Lori has a degree in horticulture from Kent State University.