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Old 07-20-2010, 08:54 PM   #1
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Hi, y'all. My daughter's girl scout troop is about to plant phase two of their butterfly/pollinator garden at the community center park in Chapel Hill, NC (zone 7a). The ground is fairly moist, and gets quite boggy for a day every time it rains. The goal is to find native, sun-loving, relatively low maintenance plants that won't be too invasive into the neighboring rose garden, that are either larval or nectar sources, and won't get taller than around six feet (city rule). I am looking for suggestions. So far, I have come up with buttonbush, joe-pye weed, several kinds of milkweed, lobelia cardenalis, great blue lobelia monkeyflower. I'm sure I can come up with a longer list, but are there any particularly striking or unusual ones you know of? Early or late bloomers so we can have a long period of flowers? The plants will have permanent labels to educate the public as to their identities. Thank you for any help you can give. I'll post photos when we are done planting in September, although it won't be really grown in until next year.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:35 PM   #2
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What a great project!
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:31 PM   #3
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Clethra alnifolia, Summersweet, might do well there. The true species gets to be an 8' tall shrub, and has white flowers. "Ruby Spice" pictured below has red flowers but I have to say this cultivar isn't consistently red or pink, sometimes the flowers only have a hint of pink to them. Another cultivar named "16 Candles" only gets to be 4' tall. All of whom have a fabulous sweet smell that can travel a good distance from the plant. It also gets barraged by pollinators, not so much with the butterflies, but the bees swarm the thing.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:57 AM   #4
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Clethra is a great choice, it shouldn't be any trouble to keep pruned below six feet.

Helenium autumnale / Sneezeweed is a spectacular late-season bloomer that likes sun and moisture. Don't let the name sneezeweed scare you off, it was used for snuff in the past.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:37 PM   #5
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Clethra is a great suggestion. I haven't heard of it before. We can always prune it to keep it the right height. Thanks for the idea!
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:47 PM   #6
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Pruning clethra will keep the bush dense. Mary has pruned ours down close to the ground for a couple of years now. We won't be doing that this year so that they can grow a bit taller but they certainly do not mind being pruned back. Mine are flowering BTW.

One suggestion that I would make is to find any lepidopteran species that are either endangered or threatened in your area and then plant the host plant for that species.
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Old 07-21-2010, 10:26 PM   #7
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Buckeyes host Agalinis purpurea
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Old 07-21-2010, 10:54 PM   #8
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I just looked up Agalinis purpurea and it is a great suggestion. It blooms late, which will extend our bloom season, and is a larval host plant.

I also like the idea of finding out which species of butterflies and moths are endangered or threatened, and trying to plant for them; I'm not sure how to track down this info efficiently, but I think I'll start with the NC Cooperative Extension for our county. If you have any other ideas, I'd appreciate hearing them.

Thanks for all the input so far. More ideas are still welcome. It is a pretty big space and we are trying to make it a showcase to educate the public on the beauty and virtues of native plants to support the local ecology.
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