Fall is a time generally associated with winding down. However, if you’ve been to any of the five fledgling pollinator gardens in Atlanta’s parks*, you might have noticed a surprising amount of gearing up. Pollinators and other animals know that fall is no time to lounge around. Winter is coming! Pantries must be stocked and bodies fortified—for a long journey southward for those that migrate, or for wintering in place for our resident species.
I encourage you to visit Atlanta’s new pollinator gardens this fall. When you do, take a moment to read these signs and observe all the activity around you. Birds are gathering nutritious seeds from dried flower heads. Caterpillars are gobbling up every last leafy green, getting ready to pupate.
Look carefully for the chrysalides of butterflies and the cocoons of moths before doing any fall cleanup. These pupal stages can look deceptively like dead leaves! Bees are still busy gathering nectar and protein-rich pollen. Take note of the fall-flowering plants that are important sources of nectar and pollen late in the year—goldenrod and black-eyed-Susan are going strong and asters often flower until the first frost.
These little pockets of nature in our parks are amazing places for us to learn… and enjoy! My hope is that by better understanding the vital role of pollinators in our urban environment, you will be inspired to plant a pollinator garden in your own yard, or support Park Pride programs that help birds, bees and butterflies to thrive.
As Atlanta grows, our urban environment faces increasing pressure from stressors such as new development, increased traffic congestion and pollution. Fortunately, parks can play an important role in building a city’s resilience. You can help strengthen a growing Atlanta with a donation to Park Pride and support programs that enhance pollinator habitats, helping birds, bees, butterflies, our gardens, our neighbors and our neighborhoods to thrive: parkpride.org/donate-pollinators.
*Park Pride and the Atlanta Botanical Garden installed five new pollinator gardens in City of Atlanta parks thanks to a generous Building Communities Network Grant from The Home Depot Foundation. You’ll find the gardens at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve, Four Corners Park, Gilliam Park, Grove Park, and Welch Street Park. Read more.