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BUTTERFLY GARDEN
A few years into the Orchard stewardship, co-founder Judy Carson and naturalist Elizabeth Hunter planted a butterfly garden in memory of Jan McKinney Conley, a friend who had recently died. Over the decades, this small plot of showy flowers has seen very good and equally bad times but has always held forth to provide the butterfly and bee a plentiful stopping over point.
This year, the Orchard experienced a loss with the death of Judy and the outpouring of memories of her good work and heart were abundant. In August, we will begin culling the old and dying, cutting back the overgrowth, freeing the buried, hidden, and pulling weeds. Once completed, new monarch-friendly plants will fill a space twice the size with paths for walking, benches for waiting and wishing, and views to rival the back deck scenery. It will be an exquisite, educational journey into not only helping to do our part to save the planet, but to continue our mission to “save the good stuff.”
Preserving the natural environment is an important part of our mission and monarch butterflies continue to top that list. Elizabeth Hunter, writer, teacher, and mentor got us started. She wondered if monarchs could coexist in a traditional, carefully controlled, chemical apple orchard. Enlisting cofounders Kit Trubey and Judy Carson, the trio soon discovered the answer was YES.

The Orchard is a natural home of milkweed, the larval host plant for monarchs. The only place female monarchs lay eggs is the underside of milkweed leaves. The three women soon planted a flower garden with Monarch-attractive flowers that would fuel their annual migration to over-winter in Mexico. They trained the orchard field crew to preserve the milkweed and the store staff to collect the eggs and nurture them through the amazing life cycle of egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.

The butterfly dries out from its chrysalis birth, tests its new wings and flies away. Those born in September, generally the 6th generation of the year, fly all the way to Mexico, more than 1,500 miles from the Orchard, where they spend the winter. Hunter introduced us to Monarch Watch where we trained in the art of tagging the migrating butterflies. Six of the hundreds the Orchard has tagged over the years have been found in Mexico at the migration site.

However, the number of Monarchs through the Orchard has decreased significantly over our first 25 years. That increases our determination to be a monarch friendly stop on the monarch life cycle map.

Our monarch butterfly preservation project was featured in Blue Ridge Country Magazine,  in an article by naturalist and Orchard volunteer Elizabeth Hunter. Please take a moment and read the article,  “Saving the Good Stuff”. 

Learn more about monarch butterflies.

NOW . . . WE NEED YOUR HELP

We've received donations from Orchard friends of Judy and of her vision; many donations of pollinator plants and trees; offers from companies who will help clear the land and get rid of the overgrown and unwanted.

NOW WE NEED VOLUNTEERS who will give of their time (not too much), energies (a bit more), and with a willing spirit (plenty) to make it all happen.
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The Plants

To Save

Blackeyed Susan

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Tulip Poplar

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Fennel

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Lily

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Fringed Loosestrife

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Japanese Chestnut

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Lilac

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Iris

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Black Mulberry

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Butterfly Bush

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Currently buried amongst the overgrowth in the Butterfly Garden are iris’, black-eyed Susans, milkweed, and fennel as well as butterfly bushes at the original entrance.  The additions to the garden will not only offer nectar for the butterflies but serve as host plants and food for the caterpillars with pawpaw trees, aster, echinacea, Russian sage, verbena, zinnias, and added to the fennel will be dill, oregano and parsley—a favorite food for the caterpillars.
Wind chimes high in the trees will serenade both visitors and critters. Educational plaques will identify the varieties and informational signs will "talk" to the Orchard eco-system. And overlooking the red barn will be a memorial for Judy, her smiling face and sparkling eyes shining down on and welcoming visitors to come and share the Orchard's magic of the monarchs.

To Plant

Parsley

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Butterfly Bush

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Zinnia

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Oregano

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Aster

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White Coneflower

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Bee Balm

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Comfrey

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Guara

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Paw Paw

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Confederate Jasmine

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Echinacea

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Aguga

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Creeping Thyme

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Dill

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Verbena

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Lavender

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Sweet Bay Magnolia

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Red Bud

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Daisy

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Russian Sage

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We would like to thank . . .

We would like to thank the following people/businesses for their generous donations of time and plants. Please support their efforts to save the good stuff for the peoples in our and surrounding communities.

3 pawpaw trees ~ Lilly Patch Farm
Tree removal etc. ~ Affordable Tree Service
Assorted plants ~ LakeView Garden Center
And a special thank you to Marianne Cicala for donating hours of her time to help us realize Judy's dream

before the cutting

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chipping away

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up the tree

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so much better

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The Volunteers

Garden' vision was drawn by landscape designer Marianne Cicala. She will be coordinating efforts to make it happen over the next few months.
BUT, we can't do it without our community—YOU!

Here's who we need: a variety of volunteers over the course of fall & early winter months.  Plant knowledge unnecessary but a plus.

Here's what we'll do:

Dig & divide existing plants

Lay out & transplant existing plants

Plant new plants

Dig bed edges & incorporate soil amendments

Weed & mulch


Here's what you'll learn:

Basic plant knowledge

How to properly lay out a bed

How to divide & transplant plants

When & how to amend soil

 

And here's what you'll get:

A new group of dirt loving friends

Satisfaction from a job worth doing

 

We need:

Folks who arrive at the designated time ready to get dirty,
(wear close-toed shoes, bring plenty of water & a hat & gloves (optional))

Folks who want to see the beauty of Judy's butterfly garden once more color the landscape



If you have some free time, enjoy being outside, making new friends, and getting your hands...and knees dirty for a cause, please email. This is your garden, also. A place to learn about the Orchard eco-system—how it all works together. A place to sit and see the skies shift, clouds pass, mountains turn from green to brilliant gold. A place to bring your kids, your grandkids to watch the butterflies drink the nectar in the summer, return in the fall to "lay the seeds" for another generation.


NOTE: There may be some heavy lifting; please note when volunteering.

before the new

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volunteering

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new fence

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before weed work

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volunteers

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it's getting there

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ADDRESSES

ADDRESS:
1025 Orchard Road

Spruce Pine, NC 28777

Blue Ridge Parkway
(mile marker 328.3)

PHONE:
828-765-9531
TOLL-FREE:
888-765-9531

EMAIL:
information@altapassorchard.org

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2021 HOURS

June 1-October 31

Wed-Sun
10 to 5

Subject to change

Please Help!

Copyright © The Historic Orchard at Altapass 2021. All Rights Reserved. Site designed by Blue Ridge Visions

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