UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Attracting bees and butterflies, at UNCG pollinator gardens

071316Feature_GardensA collaboration among UNCG Grounds, a class of biology students led by professor Ann Somers, and agrochemical company Syngenta, pollinator gardens are blooming in their first season on campus.

The gardens, which house an eclectic mix of flora and fauna, are five in total: four in Peabody Park and one on the edge of the Aycock parking lot, next to the UNCG Baseball stadium. The pollinator mix, which is specifically designed for North Carolina, offers both perennials and annuals that attract honey bees, bumble bees, moths and numerous bird varieties.

While the students are on summer break, Building and Environmental Supervisor of UNCG Grounds Peter Ashe looks over the gardens. He said that the gardens will become more lush as they continue to mature in the coming years.

“The perennials take a couple growing seasons to establish and shoot flowers,” said Ashe. “This first season they’re establishing a root system. In the next two or three years they’re going to get some blossoming. You’re fighting the weeds, you’re fighting drought sometimes you’re fighting the weather — It’s not easy, it’s a challenge.”

Somers, who led the service learning wildlife course that planted the gardens, said that foresight and an understanding that actions of environmental stewardship today have a positive impact for the future is part of the learning process.

“It’s not all about the moment. Bringing wildlife back is a long process,” said Somers. “What the students in 2015 understood is that the work we did would really come to fruition in 2017.”

Both Somers and Ashe believe that naturalizing the grounds is an act of environmental stewardship. Somers said she imagines that in thirty years the campus norm could be pollinators, rather than sterile non-nectar producing plants.

The pollinators allow a community of plants and animals to thrive, a partnership not unlike that shared between grounds, students and faculty.

Wondering about some of the flowering plants you see in these gardens? To help you in identifying them, here are the seeds they used.

Swamp milkweed
Butterfly milkweed
New England aster
Purple coneflower
Swamp sunflower
Autumn sneezeweed
Gayfeather
Bergamot
Spotted beebalm
Hairy beardstem
Virginia mountain mint
Gray goldenrod
Ohio spiderwort
New York ironweed
Golden Alexander
Aster, China single mix
Baby’s breath, annual
Black-eyed Susan (this is native)
Bluebell, California
Candytuft, annual
Catchfly
Clarkia, deerhorn
Coreeopsis, dwarf Plains
Daisy, African
Daisy, African stick
Forget-me-not, Chinese
Godetia, dwarf
Larkspur, rocket
Poppy, California
Poppy, corn
Snapdragon, tall spurred Northern Lights
Stock, Virginia
By Daniel Wirtheim
Photograph by Martin W. Kane