Mills River Park Pollinator Garden

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mills river pollinator garden

The garden after completion in late summer 2023.


Native insect pollinators are important pollinators of our natural ecosystems while managed honeybees are important for food production. A pollinator is any creature that moves pollen from the male part of flowers (stamen) to the female part of flowers (stigma). This pollination must occur for flowers to be fertilized. Fertilized flowers can then produce fruits, seeds and finally new plants.

echinacea and pollinator

Pollinating insects are essential to agricultural plants and wild plants.

The Importance of Pollinators

More than 3/4 of the world’s flowering plants, including food crops such as fruits and vegetables, depend on pollinating insects to fertilize flowers. Pollinators provide one out of every three bites of food we eat including fruits, vegetables and seeds. Native pollinators support a healthy ecosystem by fertilizing native plants.

mills river pollinator garden flowers

Henderson County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers have been instrumental in the installation and maintenance of the garden.

Pollinators in Peril

Pollinators have been in decline. Multiple problems affect pollinator populations such as habitat loss, novel diseases, insecticide overuse, pollution and other factors. Healthy, abundant pollinator populations play a vital role in our food systems and in promoting biodiversity.

mills river pollinator garden before

The garden before in winter 2022.

Mills River Pollinator Garden

Pollinator gardens are planted with flowering plants that benefit pollinating insects. These plants provide food and habitat for pollinators. To ensure health of pollinators, these areas are not treated with pesticides. It is desirable to use a majority native plants.

mills river pollinator garden plan

County Agent Steve Pettis designed the garden and worked with Raymond’s Garden Center to choose and obtain the plants.

Steve Pettis, Henderson County Horticulture Agent designed a demonstration pollinator garden for the purposes of public education to be installed at Mills River Park in the Town of Mills River. Steve was assisted by 8 Master Gardeners and 2 Mills River Park staff to install soil, mulch and plants.

The garden features over 206 perennials, trees, shrubs, vines, and grasses from 72 species. 85% of the plants are native to North Carolina. A cedar split rail fence and pea gravel walkways with stone borders were installed by the park. Funds for the project were provided by The Town of Mills River. Plants were obtained from Raymond’s Garden Center. The Raymond’s Garden Center staff helped pick out appropriate pollinator friendly plants. Educational signage is being designed to teach the public about beneficial insects and pollinators.

mills river pollinator garden installation crew

The volunteers who installed the garden included Mills River Park employees Nicole Sweat and Mike Miles.

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