Butterflies, Bonsai and Blooms


E Tiger Swallowtail

With spring blooms in abundance and a full roster of events and exhibits, May is a great time to visit The North Carolina Arboretum. A new butterfly exhibit, Winged Wonders, opens on Saturday, May 13, and runs through October 29. The habitat, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Baker Exhibit Center Greenhouse, contains a variety of native butterfly species, including monarchs and swallowtails, and their host plants. A nursery will allow visitors to see various stages of the insects’ metamorphosis from caterpillars to butterflies. Tiny fairy gardens and gnome homes, constructed from pine cone scales, twigs, mosses and other natural materials, are located throughout the exhibit.

“Butterflies and the wildflowers they aid are universally enjoyed,” says Whitney Smith, the Arboretum’s marketing and public relations manager. “This exhibit provides an opportunity for those who may not otherwise be interested in conservation to become very invested.”

Winged Wonders includes information about pollination and the complementary relationship between butterflies and various plants. Visitors will learn about the plight of species such as the monarch as well as simple things they can do to increase the butterfly population and attract them to their own garden.

The Arboretum will also celebrate World Bonsai Day, an internationally recognized event dedicated to furthering bonsai awareness and appreciation, on Saturday, May 13. In honor of the occasion, the Bonsai Exhibition Garden will be fully displayed to the public for the first time this year and bonsai curator Arthur Joura will host two guided tours, beginning at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. The half-hour tours will provide general information about the Bonsai Exhibition Garden and the art of bonsai, as well as information about specific species in the collection.

“Tour participants will hear about the history of various bonsai trees, such as when they came to the Arboretum, as well as explanations of how they were designed and any special care they require,” says Smith. “They will also learn about the features that make the Bonsai Exhibition Garden unique and how the plants therein are managed.”

The Carolinas Dahlia Society will also host its annual dahlia tuber sale in the Arboretum’s Education Center on Saturday, May 13, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. More than 100 varieties of the versatile flowers, appreciated for their many sizes, shapes, colors and long blooming season, will be available for purchase.

The North Carolina Arboretum is located at 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville. To learn more about these and other May events, visit ncarboretum.org or call 828.665.2492.

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