BALL GROUND, Ga., Oct. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year, Jim Gibbs, owner/developer of Gibbs Gardens, strives to offer visitors amazing new garden experiences—this year is no exception. Inspired by the work of the Monarch Joint Venture (https://monarchjointventure.org/) Gibbs is re-inventing his 30-acre Wildflower Meadow as a butterfly and bee pollinator garden. Although not on the Endangered Species List, the monarch now is considered a candidate for protection; according to a Fish and Wildlife Department announcement, it will review the monarchs' status annually to track any changes.
Monarch butterflies discover acres of cosmos blooms in pollinator Wildflower Meadow.
Monarch butterflies living east of the Rockies migrate 3,000 miles each August to over-winter in Central Mexico. They travel down the eastern states—including Georgia—and curve west along the Gulf States toward Mexico. The process is repeated in reverse in the spring with monarchs leaving in early March to arrive in New England in May and June.
It's critical for monarchs to find plentiful and nutritious food to fuel their flight and propagation, thereby ensuring the safety of the species.
"As a child I was fascinated by butterflies," said Gibbs. "Children who come to our gardens love to see the monarchs. They are mesmerized watching butterflies hover and land on the flowers."
Monarch butterflies discover acres of cosmos blooms
This spring Gibbs started his Wildflower Meadow transformation, clearing out invasive plantings to make room for five acres of cosmos and other new varieties that support and encourage pollination. He began by seeding literally millions of cosmos to color the meadows in wave after wave of vibrant color.
"One of my main reasons for planting cosmos was to attract the monarchs to visit Gibbs Gardens in September, October and early November on their migration to Central Mexico and again on their return trip north during March, April and May," said Gibbs.
Thousands of monarchs are enjoying their rest stop at Gibbs Gardens—attracted by the cosmos bright flowers and enriched by their precious nectar stores. Cosmos—a tall annual with 3-5 inch silky, daisy-like flowers—is native to Mexico. Cosmos blossoms (cosmos bipinnatus and cosmos sulphorous) have yellow centers with a rainbow of petal colors including white, various shades of pink, crimson, rose, lavender and purple.
"Millions of cosmos in bloom look like rivers of color flowing across the Wildflower Meadow's sloping hillsides and across the valley," he added. "Come spring and their return flight, Gibbs Gardens will be ready to entice—and nurture—them again with fields of bright poppies, larkspur, milkweed and more golden rod."
Gibbs' great respect for the balance of nature is not new. In 2015, with growing concern about bees dying and/or disappearing, he contacted a local bee farm and arranged to have hives established in Gibbs Gardens' safe, clean environment.
"Honey bees are in a fragile state in nature so the hives here are protected from bears and other wildlife with heavy fencing," he said, In the midst of Gibbs Gardens the bees are sheltered from pollutants and other chemicals that might prove unhealthy.
Today there are seven hives—with anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 bees per hive—within the gardens' grounds but away from areas where visitors walk. Italian bees, the majority of those in the gardens, are more docile and are located in the general area beyond the Wildflower Meadow with signage to alert visitors who might wander in that area.
Honored for excellence as
Recognized as one of the Thirteen Best Botanical Gardens in America and recently named the top garden in Georgia by the Atlanta Journal, Gibbs Gardens always has something new in bloom. The five feature gardens and 21 seasonal collections gardens offer unique and continuous delights for garden lovers of all interests. To learn more about Gibbs Gardens go to gibbsgardens.com.
For more information contact:
Carol Skapinetz, Marketing Manager
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SOURCE Gibbs Gardens