Support Us Button Widget

How to build a pollinator garden in Asheville, NC

Pollinator Garden

Photo courtesy of Asheville GreenWorks

DYK that Asheville is the original Bee City? This special namesake means that the Asheville area is a certified safe haven for a wide variety of local pollinators such as bees, hummingbirds, moths + butterflies. The name comes from the efforts of local pollinator advocate Phyllis Stiles, who launched the designation (and corollary nonprofit) Bee City USA in 2012 as a way to promote the concept of pollinator gardens.

For those who might be unfamiliar with the term, a pollinator garden is a special habitat that provides food + habitat for pollinators to help offset the rapid decline these species have faced over the last 30 years. In the last decade, the popularity of pollinator protection has soared, with 248 cities and college campuses across 43 states following Asheville’s lead to adopt the program and become certified Bee City affiliates.

Photo courtesy of Asheville GreenWorks

With all this newfound interest, the knowledge base of pollinator ecology has grown considerably — so much so that Asheville GreenWorks and Bee City USA teamed up to create a brand-new recommendation list with updated info on plants that are native to WNC and function as food sources + nesting habitats for pollinators. In total, it includes 284 wildflowers, shrubs, trees, vines, grasses + sedges. The guide also includes the bloom schedule of each plant and which local suppliers keep them in stock.

And if you really want to nerd out, you can also read through the list’s “Value to Pollinator” column to learn about the relationship between the plant + pollinators. For instance, I (Laura here) learned that the wild strawberry can host up to 69 species of butterflies and moths, while the Eastern Blue Star + Scaly Blazingstar are more likely to attract bees and hummingbirds.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it’s a great resource for anyone looking to upgrade their pollinator garden or start one for the first time. Plus, because it only features native plants, all items from the list will have a hugely positive impact on the local pollinator ecosystem versus other popular non-native + invasive pollinators, such as the Japanese knotweed.

Interested, but not sure where to start? We recommend reading through the guide + picking 1-3 plants from a recommended local supplier (on pages 2-3) to get started. Asheville GreenWorks also offers the Pollinator Garden Certification program to anyone in WNC interested in taking their setup to the next level.

The NC music office will increase awareness of NC’s rich music history + current music scene and will be housed under the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Co-owner of Bear’s Smokehouse Cheryl Antoncic started the Linked4Life Foundation in Connecticut — and now, it’s launching in Asheville.
Tell us you’re from Asheville without telling us you’re from Asheville.
A group of musicians are working to restore the chimes, with the city considering creating policy for original music to be played.
Once booming, now barren. Let’s take a peek at malls of Asheville’s past — plus hope for the future.
You shared your feelings + feedback on life in Buncombe County — here are a few key takeaways.
At the latest meeting the council made its final vote on a Business Improvement District in downtown — here’s what that means for the neighborhood.
The program, started by a public-private coalition, celebrates energy efficiency and empower residents to take climate action right at home.
Before the final public hearing next week, take a close look at where county funds will be going next fiscal year.
As the City of Asheville continues its Patton Avenue Corridor Feasibility Study, you’re invited to give your input and feedback.
Good news for Asheville.
Get the best local news & events sent to your inbox each morning, for free.

Local Government Meetings

More from AVLtoday
Check out these local restaurants that skip on gluten, but not on flavor.
Prepare for summer weather in Asheville, NC with these seasonal temperature and precipitation outlooks.
We rounded up a list of joints serving late-night meals in Asheville — from pizza to burgers to noodles.
Take a dip in one of these public pools, membership pools, or local swimming holes.
Asheville’s historical Urban Trail has everything from a giant flat iron to a swinging bell to a bronze version of Thomas Wolfe’s shoes.
Feeling hungry? We’re highlighting a few local authors who have set their favorite recipes down on the page.
From the American Goldfinch to the Carolina Wren — these avians can be found all around the area.
Relish a challenge? Show off your swing at these local pickleball courts.
Your guide to getting involved with local government.
Find your forever best friend at a local shelter.