RALEIGH, NC (July 13, 2016) – Joining local and national efforts to help dwindling populations of butterflies, bees and other pollinators, Atlantic Avenue Orchid & Garden has created a pollinator garden along Atlantic Avenue in North Raleigh. Inspired by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation Butterfly Highway network, the local garden center installed a long strip of pollinator friendly plants south of their entrance. Longtime employee Chris Foley was the brain child and advocate for the project. When she heard the plans to install new plants along the frontage of the property she immediately thought the company should create their own little ‘Butterfly Highway’. She suggested the idea to the rest of the staff and everyone loved the idea.
The plants in the 120’ by 4’ garden were selected for their ability to feed and nurture pollinators. Mostly native plants were selected to fill the garden such as coneflower, agastache, bee balm, and asclepias to name a few. Ornamental grasses will serve as host plants for the larval stages of the pollinators life cycle and also provide a structural design element. The project lead Val Engel, Head of Design, chose the mix of blooming plants to provide nectar across three seasons. Most selections feature a long summer bloom time. Columbine & baptisia will provide nectar in early spring and asters will satisfy pollinators in fall. They are also some of her favorite perennials, providing lots of color and aesthetic appeal. “A pollinator garden should be beautiful as well as functional for butterflies and bees,” says Engel. “This garden not only brightens up our street front with color and beauty, it also provides pollen and habitat for wildlife, which to me is what gardening is all about.”
Atlantic Avenue Orchid & Garden hopes to inspire their customers, and anyone driving down Atlantic Avenue, to plant their own pollinator friendly gardens at home. “Increasing the number of pollinators in our environment needs to be a collaborative effort,” says Guy Prevost, owner. “I hope we are able to encourage more of our customers to plant not only to beautify their yards, but to think of the pollinators as well.”
The new pollinator garden along Atlantic Avenue is certified by the following organizations: North Carolina Wildlife Federation Butterfly Highway, Pollinator Partnership Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, North American Butterfly Association, Monarch Watch and National Wildlife Federation.
This project is the first phase of a multi-phase effort to support pollinators on the garden center’s property. Atlantic Avenue Orchid & Garden plans to increase the number of pollinator friendly plantings around the property including a native garden being planted this month around one of their many display ponds. These plantings will help support native pollinators as well as a new honeybee hive being installed on the property. Other recent efforts the company has undergone to support pollinators include: a donation of plants for the Monarch Watch garden at Abbotts Creek Elementary; a financial contribution to the local Bee Better organization; and, in conjunction with the National Wildlife Federation, creation of certified wildlife habitat container gardens for local Subaru dealers as a part of their Butterfly Heroes campaign.
About Atlantic Avenue Orchid & Garden
Atlantic Avenue Orchid & Garden is an award-winning, local garden center located in North Raleigh with nearly 6 acres of high quality plants and gardening supplies. One of their pinnacle features is a 5,000 SF greenhouse filled with orchids and tropical plants. The company also offers landscape design and installation services as well as plant leasing and maintenance. For more information visit www.atlanticavenuegarden.com.