Butterfly gardening, native azaleas focus of workshop

A painted lady butterfly rests on lantana inside of the butterfly house at Dothan Nurseries in this 2017 file photo.

Learn to attract butterflies to your garden and how to incorporate native azaleas in your landscaping during a Feb. 22 workshop at the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens.

The workshop, split into two sections, will begin at 9 a.m. and last until 11:30 a.m. Doors will open at 8 a.m., with light refreshments served. Cost to attend is $20 for the general public and $15 for members of the botanical gardens. Spaces are limited, and preregistration is required. Call the garden office at 334-793-3224 or visit www.dabg.com to register.

A limited number of native azaleas will be given away as door prizes and will be available for purchase by workshop participants.

The first session of the workshop, titled “It’s a Pollination Celebration,” will focus on butterfly gardening and how to attract these beautiful and important pollinators to your property. This session will be led by Lisa Bartlett, the garden manager for Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw, Ga. She is responsible for maintaining the collection of more than 4,000 species of plants. The collection ranges from rare herbaceous perennials to rare and unusual trees including one of the largest collections of bonsai in the Southeast. She created the award-winning butterfly exhibit at Smith-Gilbert Gardens in 2016.

Native azalea expert Ernest Koone III of Pine Mountain, Ga., will be on hand to talk about the role native azaleas can play in your landscaping. Using native plants in the home landscape has become increasingly popular over the last few years.

Koone, owner of Lazy-K Nursery & Garden Delights in Pine Mountain, has been a grower for over 40 years and has developed and introduced many new selections of native azaleas. He is the largest grower of native azaleas in the United States and has provided plants to many public gardens and arboretums as well as countless private gardens across the country, including the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens. After his presentation, Koone will conduct a planting demonstration in the garden to illustrate the proper way to plant azaleas.

Located at 5130 Headland Ave., the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens feature over 20 pocket gardens such as growing legacy collection of native azaleas, including all the azaleas native to Alabama. Other features include a wedding garden, gazebo, picnic pavilion and a children’s playground. The pet-friendly (must be on leash) facility is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

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