/ Community Engagement, Trails and Recreation,

The Henderson County Pollinator Trail

A guide to local destinations that inspire, educate, and celebrate the importance of pollinators!

Northern Pearly-eye by Sharon Mammoser.

Not only are pollinators beautiful and interesting to observe, they’re responsible for producing most of the foods we enjoy! Follow this trail to stroll through bountiful gardens brimming with colorful blossoms and teeming with life. Experience the rich flavors of local honey, artisanal beverages, and farm-fresh foods found in our majestic mountain region. Take in the beauty of local artwork inspired by bees and butterflies. Whether at a seasonal festival or a local garden center, discover native plants to help create your own homegrown paradise for pollinators!

In this guide, you will find:

The Henderson County Pollinator Trail is based on a trail originally developed by Bee City USA – Hendersonville in 2020 and is now maintained by Conservation Carolina. Special thanks to Kim Bailey of Milkweed Meadows Farm for her extraordinary leadership and contributions to this project. Please contact [email protected] for any needed updates.   


The Good of the Hive (Bee & Pollinator) Mural  

Exterior wall of Hands On! Children’s Museum located within the Azalea Public Parking Lot (facing Third Ave. E. between N. Main Street and King Street)

This larger-than-life landmark mural was painted by The Good of the Hive founder and artist, Matthew Willey, as part of his mission to paint 50,000 bees and other pollinators in murals around the world. Almost entirely funded by donations from the community, including sponsorships from many local organizations and businesses listed on this Pollinator Trail, the mural stirs curiosity and inspires actions to help sustain healthy ecosystems. The hive of bees also serves as a metaphor for recognizing and celebrating the power in human connection. The mural site includes a demonstration pollinator garden and is designated as an ecoEXPLORE Hotspot.

The Hendo Beeline Sidewalk Mural

Located along Maple Street between 5th Avenue and the Historic Train Depot 

Pedestrians of all ages are invited to hop, skip, and stroll along a honey-combed path stretching over 800 feet and painted with four seasons of flowers, all vital to pollinators. This project was initiated by The Friends of Downtown Hendersonville and funded by an AARP Community Challenge Grant. The overall design by local artists Elizabeth and David Queen was selected through community input. An additional twenty local artists, from students to internationally renowned artists and illustrators, contributed to the flower designs and over 200 community members assisted with the painting. The design also includes children’s art sections, filled with different pollinators and other wildlife that contribute to the biodiversity of this painted garden path.

Bearfootin’ Bears Art Walk

Along N. Main Street in Downtown Hendersonville (May – October)

Bears, bees, and honey just seem to go together! The annual Bearfootin’ Public Art Walk is a whimsical, playful public art display featuring bear sculptures each transformed in a spectacular fashion by local artists. Past themes for bears have included “Buzz the Pollinator Bear” featuring beekeeping scenes; “Honeybear” painted to resemble a squeeze bottle of delicious mountain honey; a mother and her cub named “Polly & Nate” covered in a diversity of native wildflowers, bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. What pollinator-themed designs will you find adorning the bears this year?

Double View Pollinator Murals

Bullington Gardens, 95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville (grounds open year-round 9 AM – 4 PM)

Along the trails of Bullington Gardens, visitors will find a pair of outdoor murals, each with two different designs as seen from two different directions. One features a monarch butterfly from one view and a caterpillar from the other view. This reminds us that in order to have butterflies, we must also have plants to feed their young. The other mural features a honey bee from one view and a fresh ripe apple from the other view. This points out the importance of pollinators to agriculture, especially here in Henderson County where farmers (with help from pollinators) produce 85% of the state’s annual apple harvest.


Downtown Demonstration Pollinator Gardens

Azalea Parking Lot / Hands On! Children’s Museum / The Good of the Hive Bee & Pollinator Mural
(facing Third Ave. E. between N. Main Street and King Street)

These gardens designed and planted by TTK DESIGN and maintained by the Tree Board serve as examples of pollinator-friendly landscaping that can be replicated at home. The gardens also include plant labels and educational signage. Also check out Hendersonville’s list of recommended species including a section of native plants (flowers, grasses, vines, shrubs, and trees) to attract wildlife and pollinators to your own gardens.

The Henderson Inn Pollinator Garden

201 3rd Ave. W., Hendersonville

Located just a few blocks down the street from the Downtown Demonstration Pollinator Gardens planted in front of The Good of the Hive Mural, the gardens at The Henderson Inn were established by innkeepers and beekeepers, Michael and Jeanne Gilligan. Most of the honey bees you see in this garden are likely coming from the hives located just above on the Inn’s rooftop.

Bearcat Loop Tree & Pollinator Plantings

Along Bearcat Loop, Hendersonville 

The Hendersonville Tree Board has planted over 80 trees and established 7 raised beds along Bearcat Loop. Certified as a Tree City USA community since 1992 and Bee City USA affiliate since 2015, Hendersonville strives to create beautiful and healthy place to live for both people and pollinators. Among these plantings you’ll find pawpaw, sourwood, carolina silverbell as well as perennial favorites including milkweed, mountain mint, goldenrod, cardinal flower, black-eyed susan, joe-pye weed and more.

Hendersonville Main Street Pollinator Plantings

Main Street between 6th Ave. and Allen St. in downtown Hendersonville

Hendersonville’s Main Street is a linear tree-lined park that supports our pollinator friends. A walk along both sides of the street allows you to enjoy flowering trees, native shrubs, and colorful flowers.  You’ll see flowering magnolias, bald cypress, smoke tree, and fringe tree along with handsome grasses and shrubs such as laurels and azalea.  Flowers from spring to fall play underneath the taller plants and dangle from abundant hanging baskets along side streets.  In addition, Main Street’s Bearfootin’ Public Art Walk, exhibited annually May-October, is a whimsical art display featuring bear sculptures, each uniquely painted by a local artist.  Often the bears sport pollinator-themed designs.  Take a look to see if you can find one or two (or three!) this year. And glance up as you walk along to see this year’s outstanding ArtScape Banner Show flittering in the breeze on numerous light posts.  The banners are an annual juried art show of local artists, whose pieces, of course, are frequently inspired by native wildlife.

Four Seasons Boulevard Pollinator Site

Triangular site bordered by Four Seasons Boulevard, 7th Avenue E., Duncan Hill Road, Hendersonville

In 2023, the Tree Board sponsored the installation of a ¼ acre pollinator site surrounding the “Welcome to Hendersonville” sign. The site contains flowering shrubs, grasses, and colorful perennial flowers selected to benefit pollinators throughout the year and also reflect the name of the street – Four Seasons Boulevard. While there isn’t pedestrian access to this pollinator garden, it can be enjoyed by motorists as they drive by.

Oklawaha Greenway Pollinator Meadows & Gardens

Multiple access points, open year-round from dawn to dusk, Hendersonville

The City of Hendersonville’s 3.5 mile fully paved Oklawaha Greenway winds through wetlands, meadows and forests to connect four parks and is easily accessible from five convenient parking areas. Maps and additional details are available at www.friendsofoklawaha.org. The greenway includes two large pollinator meadows: a 2.3 acre tract planted in 2014 and a 4.7 acre tract planted in 2020. Several pocket meadows are also located trailside. All are marked with informational signs.

Wes Burlingame Native Plant Garden

Enter from the Patton Park (114 E Clairmont Drive Hendersonville) access trail and find the garden located at the information kiosk at the intersection with the Oklawaha Greenway.

This garden, maintained by Friends of the Oklawaha Greenway, features more than 30 varieties of native shrubs, trees, grasses, wildflowers, and ferns all labeled to educate visitors passing by. The garden celebrates the life of Westcott “Wes” Burlingame III, a local nurseryman, lecturer, and environmentalist who died in 2019.

Brooklyn Creek Bird Sanctuary

Within Sullivan Park (713 Martin Circle, Hendersonville) along Brooklyn Creek and connecting to the walkway to Oklawaha Greenway

This bird sanctuary became a reality in 2023, thanks to the original idea by a resident, Crystal Cauley, and owners of Wild Birds Unlimited, Carey and Lutrelle O’Cain. The project was also sponsored by the City’s Environmental Sustainability Board. Several bird houses and bird feeders have been installed and a stream restoration project to enhance habitat for birds as well as pollinators is underway along the creek.

Brooklyn Community Garden

Located adjacent to Sullivan Park (712 Martin Circle, Hendersonville) in historic 7th Avenue District

This community garden includes pollinator beds, blueberry bushes, fruit trees, and additional pollinator friendly plants, as well as a gathering space all open to the public. The Green Meadows Community, originally called Brooklyn, is a historic black neighborhood established in the late 19th century that grew into a thriving community being the center of local black life and culture. To preserve and honor the legacy of the original community, this garden is named the Brooklyn Community Garden.

Bullington Gardens

95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville (grounds open year-round, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM)

Boasting perennials and flowering vines in a range of sizes, colors, and shapes, Bullington’s pollinator garden and “butterfly breezeway” support pollinators by supplying food in the form of pollen, nectar, and host plants. Using a diversity of plants helps ensure butterflies, bees, and other pollinators will stay in the area to help pollinate our important fruit and agriculture crops in Henderson County.

Bountiful Harvest Community Garden

Jackson Park (just behind the Mountain Community School), Hendersonville

The Bountiful Harvest Community Garden (started and managed by a group of Master Gardener Volunteers from N.C. Cooperative Extension in Henderson County) contains 40 plots dedicated to growing food and flowers. Assorted pollinator flower beds containing a variety of flowers and plants line the interior and exterior fence line and bloom from early spring to late fall, providing food and habitat for a diversity of pollinators.

The Mountain Community School Pollinator Garden

613 Glover St, Hendersonville

The school’s pollinator gardens are filled with joe-pye weed, echinacea, agastache, allium, amsonia, clethra, ornamental grasses, and more. All gardens are fully open for the public to walk through the parking areas.

Blue Ridge Community College – Bee Campus USA Pollinator Plantings

180 W Campus Dr, Flat Rock

In February 2017, Blue Ridge Community College became the 16th educational institution in the nation to be certified as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program. The College’s Bee Campus Committee is leading the way in this effort and takes pride in the College’s commitment to minimizing hazards to pollinators by using no neonicotinoid pesticides and almost no glyphosate herbicide or other potentially dangerous synthetic pesticides. Visitors to the campus can explore the walking path which winds through various native shrubs and trees, a certified monarch waystation, a butterfly garden, and several acres of pollinator habitat.

The Park at Flat Rock – Pollinator Garden and Meadows

55 Highland Golf Drive, Flat Rock (open daily from sunrise to sunset)

Visitors to The Park at Flat Rock experience a wide range of opportunities for enjoying pollinators and their habitats. The 67+ acre Park has nearly three miles of easy trails which allow visitors of all ages to experience a variety of pollinators attracted by a wide range of nectar and host plants. The Park includes a formal pollinator garden, maintained by local Master Gardeners, that presents plantings designed explicitly to attract and support a range of pollinators from well-known monarch butterflies to more mysterious native bees. The formal pollinator garden also includes two large archway arbors that showcase native vines known to support particular pollinators, such as the pipevine swallowtail butterfly. For a more “natural” experience, the Park also includes an ever-changing two-acre wildflower meadow that reflects the roles of native grasses, sedges, rushes and flowers in providing pollinator habitat and forage. Last but not least, the Park maintains several honey bee hives that provide an opportunity for visitors to experience our most famous “managed” pollinators. Reflecting the Park’s focus on education, when the situation allows, hands-on seminars are held to instruct kids of all ages about the Park’s natural resources including pollinators and their habitats. The Park has also joined the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in hosting the Kids in Parks TRACK Trails program.

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site – Margaret’s Garden & Pasture

1800 Little River Rd, Flat Rock

Pick up a Farm, Field and Forest TRACK Trail brochure when you enter the park to discover the homes and hiding places of pollinators at Connemara. The trail guide will take you by the gardens, goats and pastures while following the footsteps of Carl Sandburg’s grandchildren. Activities in the brochure guide visitors to learn about the various plant and animal communities that work together at Connemara.

Flat Rock Playhouse Gardens

2661 Greenville Hwy, Flat Rock

A group of volunteers maintains and designs the gardens at the North Carolina State Theatre in Flat Rock: The Flat Rock Theatre. Four and a half acres are cultivated. In addition to all the plantings, 62 QR readers provide information on your cellphone about the different areas, from native plants found in the mountains of Western North Carolina to plants loved by our bees and butterflies. Several picnic tables and paths encourage visitors to sit a while and enjoy the beauty. There is even a Little Free Library to pick a book while relaxing in this creative garden playground.

Flat Rock Forest Preserve & Bird Sanctuary

Located at center of the Historic District, across from the Wrinkled Egg (2710 Greenville Hwy) at Memminger Drive, Flat Rock (parking available on Memminger Dr.)

As volunteers, Historic Flat Rock, Inc. maintains the Forest Preserve and Bird Sanctuary with almost two acres of woodland walking trails with native plants, a rivulet, bird houses, bat boxes, wood duck boxes, and picnic tables for visitors’ enjoyment. The Historic Flat Rock Mountain Gardeners are busy planning a new section in the preserve that will have milkweed, perennials, and more! The kiosk will serve to update the community about educational workshops and experiences plus provide information specific to plants, bees, and other pollinators. The goal is to create an interest in pollinators for all ages.


Raymond’s Garden Center

1320 Kanuga Rd, Hendersonville

Raymond’s Garden Center is an independent, family-owned garden center proudly growing 90% of their annuals and perennials on-site.  They also offer annuals, perennials, vines, shrubs, trees and more! Check out the large selection of native plants and pollinator-attracting plants or attend one of their many workshops and seminars held throughout the year.

Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop

638 Spartanburg Hwy, Ste 60, Hendersonville

Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop specializes in fresh bird seed, bird feeders, and many other bird feeding supplies. Come in to meet your local experts on attracting backyard songbirds, hummingbirds, backyard critters, and pollinators! Whether you have been feeding the birds for years or are new to the hobby, their personalized service will help identify exactly which food and feeder combinations are most likely to bring in daily and seasonal birds to your backyard. Did you know bird baths can also serve as watering stations for bees?Bring the joy of nature to your home with Wild Birds Unlimited!

B.B. Barns The Garden Company

3377 Sweeten Creek Rd, Arden

B.B. Barns is 4.5-acre destination garden center located near the northern border of Henderson County. They promote, design, and sell pollinator-friendly gardens and plants. The vast selection coupled with extensive gardening knowledge and friendly staff makes any visit to B.B. Barns a worthwhile trip!


ecoEXPLORE Hotspots

  • Bill Moore Community Park, 85 Howard Gap Road, Fletcher
  • Henderson County Public Library, 301 North Washington Street, Hendersonville
  • Pollinator Gardens at Hands On! Children’s Museum, 318 North Main Street, Hendersonville
  • Bullington Gardens, 95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville
  • Holmes Educational State Forest, 1299 Crab Creek Road, Hendersonville
  • DuPont State Recreational Forest, 1300 Staton Rd, Hendersonville
  • Guion Farm Access at DuPont State Forest, 3045 Sky Valley Road, Hendersonville
  • Lake Imaging Access Area at DuPont State Forest, Lake Imaging Road, Hendersonville
  • Hooker Falls Access Area at DuPont State Forest, Hooker Falls Trail, Pisgah Forest
  • High Falls Access Area at DuPont State Forest, Buck Forrest Road, Cedar Mountain

Henderson County has nine areas designated as “hotspots” by the ecoEXPLORE (Experiences Promoting Learning Outdoors for Research and Education) program. Kids in grades K-8 are invited to See It! (make a nature observation), Snap It! (take a photo), and Share It! (upload the photo) to help real scientists and earn cool nature prizes at the same time. Kids can even complete seasonal challenges to earn special badges including a pollinator badge!


Carolina Bee Farm

1734 Brevard Rd., Suite C, Hendersonville

The honey tasting bar offers samples of locally-produced sourwood, apple blossom, and wildflower honey in addition to numerous other varietals from across the country for a total of 30 different types of honey! Creamed honey and infused honey are also available. Shoppers can also find a full line of beekeeping supplies plus lip balms, soaps, candles, and facial creams made with beeswax.

Wine Sage & Gourmet

416 North Main St., Hendersonville

This boutique wine and gourmet shop features local craft food items from our region and helps bring awareness of the important role pollinators play in producing nearly all things that we eat and drink. In addition to local honey products, shoppers can purchase unique honey wines (mead) crafted by Alchemy Herbal Wine and artisanal ciders created by Botanist & Barrel.

Hendersonville Community Co-op

60 South Charleston Lane, Hendersonville

As an owner-operated cooperative, the Co-op’s mission is to provide organic and wholesome, natural foods, supplements and health care products, and to encourage informed choice through education and exceptional service to their customers and community. They are one of the only local purveyors of Shanti Elixirs Jun (a sparkling, probiotic green tea made with raw honey) and Bee & Bramble fine mead (honey wine). The grounds feature pollinator-friendly landscaping including milkweeds, purple coneflowers, black-eyed susans, and more. For gardeners, they also carry spring garden transplants, organic fertilizers, and seed packets from local producer, Sow True Seed.

World’s Edge Meadery

408 Appleola Rd, Hendersonville

With panoramic views of mountains, vineyards and farmland, World’s Edge Meadery is located at Point Lookout Vineyards. The honey in mead, beyond its flavor and sweetness, has contributed to a history of mead being regarded as a healthful beverage. Since ancient times, mead was given to treat the ill and offered as a gift to newlyweds, the origin of the honeymoon. The meadery produces melomels, fruit-flavored meads, along with pure-honey meads.

Sideways Farm & Brewery

62 Eade Road, Etowah

Sideways Farm & Brewery strives to return beer to its agricultural roots by handcrafting small batch ales using the highest quality fresh local ingredients (often grown on their sustainable farm) giving each of their beers a unique sense of time and place. They are one of the few breweries in the country creating carbonation naturally with local wildflower honey in ALL their unfiltered bottle-conditioned ales. They also proudly hand-craft hard jun kombucha (an alcoholic sparkling, probiotic beverage made with green tea and raw honey), which is only made in a handful of places worldwide. Visitors are encouraged to walk the farm with a drink in hand to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere, buzzing of the hives, frolicking farm animals and see future beer ingredients growing naturally.

Harvey’s at The Henderson

201 3rd Ave. W., Hendersonville

Innkeepers Michael and Jeanne Gilligan also became beekeepers when they added hives to their rooftop. The Gilligans saw a need to support honey bees and use hyper-local honey in gourmet meals and craft cocktails at their historic bed and breakfast, restaurant, and bar. Chef Michael prepares breakfast creations of honey-lemon pancakes and honey French toast while Jeanne, The Henderson’s craft mixologist, has created a honey cocktail list including: Honey Lemon Drop Martini, Honey Rye Manhattan, Honey Hitchcock, and Bee’s Knees. Outdoor dining on a heated deck is also available.

The Book and Bee Cafe and Tea

795 Mountain Road, Hendersonville

Local honey is a recurring character in the literary-themed menu items and teas served at this café that’s as sweet as can bee! From the “100 Acre Woods” parfait to salads served with honey apple pecan vinaigrette or honey mustard dressings, diners will find many delights. Honey bees also make multiple appearances in the décor from the wallpaper to the bee hive teapots and even the aprons worn by café staff. To top things off, don’t miss the hummingbird cake that lives up to its name! Some say it’s so delicious it makes you hum with happiness while others speculate the cake is so named because folks hover around and devour it so quickly. Beautifully decorated bee cookies are another tempting treat. Coming soon… jars of local honey and pollinator-friendly seed packets for sale! Outdoor dining on the deck is available during warm weather.


Hendersonville Farmers Market

Historic Train Depot, 650 Maple Street, Hendersonville

Open Saturdays from 8 AM – 1 PM, May – October. Hendersonville Farmers Market aims to be a world-class market that contributes to the success of local producers and growers, expands access to farm fresh foods, and creates a vibrant community gathering space. With fresh produce, meats, baked goods, honey, crafts, live entertainment, food trucks, and more, it’s a weekly outing with something for everybody!

Henderson County Tailgate Market

100 N. King Street (between First and Second Avenues), Hendersonville

Open Saturdays from 8 AM – noon, April through October, rain or shine. Established in 1979, the Henderson County Tailgate Market is one of the longest operating open-air markets in Western North Carolina. Whether you are looking for honey, herbs, vegetable starts, local fruits and vegetables, farm-fresh eggs, local landscaping plants, fresh-cut flowers, or freshly baked goodies, you can find it all.

Henderson County Curb Market

221 N. Church St., Hendersonville

Open Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday from 8 AM – 2 PM (closed on Tuesdays from January – March). The Curb Market has been a local Hendersonville tradition since 1924. A favorite of locals and visitors alike, the Curb Market always has something different from fresh fruits & vegetables, plants & fresh cut flowers, homemade jams, jellies & baked goods, honey, and handmade mountain crafts.

Flat Rock Farmers Market

1790 Greenville Hwy*, Hendersonville

Open Thursdays from 3 – 6 PM, May – October. Celebrating over 15 years in operation, this market features fresh local and regional organic produce; fresh seafood; goat milk lotion, soap & cheeses; wild & cultivated mushrooms; baked goods; honey; eggs; jelly, jams & relishes; annual, perennial & native plants. Located in the parking lot of Pinecrest ARP Church on the corner of Greenville Highway and Highland Lake Road. *Please enter market parking lot from Highland Lake Rd. side of the church. No entry on Greenville Highway side.

Mills River Farm Market

Mills River School, 94 School House Rd, Mills River

Open Saturdays from 8 AM – noon, May – October. Mills River Farm Market features local produce, meat & cheese, eggs, and local crafts.

Sideways Flower Farm

62 Eade Road, Etowah (check seasonal business hours online)

Wander through this u-pick flower farm with rows of cultivated flowers and herbs lovingly grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides to ensure a safe place for pollinators. Relax and watch the birds, bees, and butterflies in the wildflower-inspired meadow area, a part of the NC Butterfly Highway featuring nectar rich plantings of milkweed, butterfly weed, joe-pye weed, ironweed and many more seasonal blooms. Experience the joy of picking your own flowers seasonally or stop by and grab a bouquet of farm fresh flowers to go!


Photo by Virginia Hunter.

Garden Jubilee (May – Memorial Day Weekend)

Held annually on Memorial Day Weekend, Garden Jubilee is one of the largest gardening shows in the Southeast. Visitors and locals alike flock outdoors to shop for annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, and hard-to-find plants from local and regional nurseries. Crafters sell garden art, handmade lawn furniture, jewelry, garden tools, planters, birdhouses, native bee nesting boxes, soaps, pottery, and more. Gardening experts offer techniques and tips for creating beautiful, as well as ecologically sustainable, gardens.

Bee Bold Pollinator Fest (August)

Bold Rock Mills River Cidery recognizes honey bees are the world’s most important pollinator of food crops, making them a crucial member of our community. No bees, no Bold Rock! Other pollinators assist in bringing one out of every three bites of food to our plates as well as enabling wild plants to set fruit and produce seeds. The annual Bee Bold Pollinator Festival (typically held on or around National Honey Bee Day celebrated on the Third Saturday in August) features activities such as live music, honey tastings, crafts for the kids, “bee bingo” games, butterfly yoga, short films, presentations, an observation bee hive, the unveiling of a special Bold Rock cocktail, and more!

Apple Festival (September – Labor Day Weekend)

Historic downtown Hendersonville is the official home of the NC Apple Festival, a four-day celebration in honor of the abundant local apple harvest (and the farmers and pollinators that make it possible). Taking place for over 75 years, the festival offers live musical entertainment, arts & crafts, food, apple products, honey, and special exhibits by Henderson County Beekeepers Association and Blue Ridge Apple Growers. This hometown celebration has something for the whole family!

Migrating Monarchs (Fall)

Like clockwork, migrating monarch butterflies pass through western NC from mid-September through early October. From the Hendersonville area, their epic journey to Mexico covers at least 2,000 miles. There are numerous locations to observe this wondrous natural phenomenon, from right along Main Street in downtown Hendersonville to the mountain passes of the Blue Ridge Parkway. In addition, many local organizations plan special events and festivals to celebrate monarchs and educate visitors about their significance. The annual Symbolic Monarch Migration program is coordinated by Bullington Gardens. Monarch Day at The North Carolina Arboretum is typically held on the last Saturday of September.

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