© Williamsburg Botanical Garden
When entering the garden entrance, visitors can look at the Native Plant Garden, which shows a beautiful selection of plants indigenous to the area, whereby most of which are native to the coastal plain. Following this, there is the Heirloom Garden, which is situated on three sides of the Pavilion Patio and displays species originating from Eurasia that were grown in North America and can now often be spotted in the east of the country, too. The sweet-scented fairy rose is a popular flower to behold, as is the tall, white bridal wreath spirea.
Positioned near the wetlands is the Green Roof Pavilion, which received its name due to the water holding plants that have been planted on the roof. The species, such as Ice Plants and sedums, aid with water conservation by absorbing the rainwater and reducing storm water runoff, thus lessening the flooding in the area. A unique feature in the botanical gardens is the Therapy Garden. Children and adults can access the raised beds, pavilion, and planting boxes in the area, which is also designed for those who require wheelchair access. The scent of the herbs, sensory plants, and demonstrations performed here make the Therapy Garden an accessible and interactive experience for all.
Those visiting the gardens can stroll over the wooden bridge and take in the scenery of the man-made wetlands. The wetlands combine a swamp, a freshwater marsh, and a stream bank, creating an ecosystem which provides a habitat for not only plants but also animal species. Eye-catching plants on show here include the yellow cutleaf coneflower and the vibrant red cardinal flower. A popular place to visit is the Butterfly Garden, a short walk from the wetlands, which includes both native and non-native plants that provide a thriving habitat for butterflies, bees, and other insects. School groups often tour the garden to enjoy a bit of butterfly spotting. Frequently spotted butterflies are monarchs and pearl crescents, feeding on their favorite flowers’ nectar.
As well as Pollinator Palace, a purpose-built structure to accommodate bees and other pollen-carrying insects and to help them live and breed in a protected environment, there is the Old Pine Woods, which contain native coastal Virginian shrubs, trees, vines, and herbaceous plants, many of which are labeled. In the fall, long yellow sweet goldenrod plants light up the area and in spring red partridge berries can be seen blooming. The woods are a great place for school groups and families to sit in the sun for lunch. An alternative place is the patio around the Green Roof Pavilion, which also has public benches.