Where the Pollinators Are


The Pollinators’ and Bird Garden in Center County, Pennsylvania is the direct extension of an ongoing research agenda to understand and explain the recent decrease in pollinator and bird populations across the world. Conducted in close collaboration with a leading institution for pollinator research, the purpose of the project is to disseminate knowledge on pollinator and bird habitats. The 3-acre garden now offers multiple new opportunities: 1) to directly convey and interpret scientific research being conducted on site, 2) to offer an engaging place for people to learn about pollinator and bird habitats, 3) and to inspire everyone to create habitats within their own private gardens, which could significantly grow healthier networks across the developed landscape. The ultimate goals of the project are to enhance biodiversity, to encourage appreciation and care for the natural world, and to demonstrate that healthy, functioning ecosystems are beautiful.


Purpose and Approach

The Pollinators’ and Bird Garden in Center County, Pennsylvania is the direct extension of an ongoing research agenda to understand and explain the recent decrease in pollinator and bird populations across the world. Conducted in close collaboration with a leading institution for pollinator research, the purpose of the garden is to disseminate knowledge on pollinator and bird habitats, and to demonstrate that healthy, functioning ecosystems are beautiful. The 3-acre garden now offers multiple new opportunities: 1) to directly convey and interpret scientific research being conducted on site, 2) to offer an engaging place for people to learn about pollinator and bird habitats, 3) and to inspire everyone to create habitats within their own private gardens, which could significantly grow healthier networks across the developed landscape.


As prime consultant and lead designer, the landscape architect led the project from vision to completion in collaboration with a full consultant team. Within the landscape architect’s role, special emphasis was given to sculpting terrain to create rich and inspiring environments that reconnect people to pollinators and healthy habitats. In order to support the plant diversity needed to sustain this garden, we transformed the site’s fairly flat topography into a sculpted terrain. The creation of a varied ground plane allowed us to create a diverse set of conditions and habitats, and to create a sense of immersion and connection to plants and pollinators. What was previously pasture land for grazing has now expanded to include mixed woodland, deciduous woodland, shady glade, sunny edge, meadow, orchard, shrub edge, and wetland typologies.


The garden’s location is significant; the distinctive topography of Center County, Pennsylvania has led to the formation of a patchwork agricultural landscape with a diverse set of habitats and food sources for pollinators. The garden directly references distinct landscape types found throughout the region in order to study and research local birds and pollinators, and to offer an engaging place for people to learn about pollinators, their habitats, and the fundamental role they play in sustaining our own agriculture and communities.

Special factors

As a joint effort between our design team as well as entomology and horticulture experts, the creation of the garden relied on clear goals and principles to govern the layout of the garden. Key research informed the design criteria for distinct spaces and exhibits within the garden. Depending on the time of year, and association with temporal bloom events, various stories and interrelationships emerge to create a dramatic educational framework.

Beyond creating distinct habitats and conveying research narratives, we focused on creating powerful experiences allowing people to more closely observe and connect to the world of pollinators. It can be difficult for people to observe pollinators when their scale is so different from our own. We realized that in order for people to become aware of the micro scale world of pollinators, we would need to bring people closer. We designed the garden to bridge different scales: creating a sense of progression, and building greater proximity and intimacy between people and pollinators. From an initial sense of distance, as if approaching the habitat of the disc from above, visitors slowly find themselves immersed within, engaging pollinators directly at eye level. We played with this situation throughout the garden, at times reversing the relationship: from pollinators in the world of people, to people immersed in the world of pollinators.

Environmental Sensitivity and Sustainability

The ultimate goals of the Pollinator’ and Bird Garden are to enhance biodiversity, encourage appreciation and care for the natural world, and to inspire people to take steps to support native plants, pollinators, and birds in their own home landscapes. The garden provides unique habitat enhancements for both insects and birds, including solitary bee nesting structures, bird feeders, bird nest boxes, wetland areas, and two standing dead trees, or “snags,” to attract predatory birds such as raptors and owls. A beehive structure creates a protective pod with the garden – a shading device hosting and inviting people to discover a functioning bee hive within.

In its first year, the Pollinators’ and Bird Garden showcased 340 hardy plant taxa, of which 266, or 78%, are native species or selections thereof. Plant selections were targeted toward species that would provide maximum life-cycle support for native insects – particularly pollinators – and the region’s resident and migratory birds. Baseline entomology research conducted in the new garden indicated that hundreds of insect species, including over 60 species of bees and 25 species of flower-visiting flies, were active on the site during summer and autumn 2021. In addition, 53 bird species have been observed in the new garden since its opening.


“The Insect Apocalypse” has been a central topic in the media, with significant articles shared with the broader public via magazines, newspapers, blogs, television shows, and throughout social media. The issue of pollinator species disappearing across the world is a problem that is critical to the continuation of our own existence, yet a sense of inertia or lack of clear direction remains in the face of such a large environmental and economic disaster. The Pollinators’ and Bird Garden responds to this urgent state of affairs by connecting people with the issue of pollinator decline in specific, tangible ways.

This project offers an inspiring model merging art and science to inform the making of resilient landscapes. It highlights the importance for planning and design professions to partner with scientists and public institutions in order to address global issues such as climate change and loss of biological diversity. It promotes action and inspires confidence for the larger public to address critical environmental issues – including at the scale of one’s own yard. Further, it illustrates how a multidisciplinary approach embracing art, horticulture and science can respond to global issues in innovative, collaborative, and generative ways.

Plant List

Botanical Name Common Name
Acer rubrum red maple
Acer saccharum sugar maple
Acer saccharum ‘Bailsta’ Fall Fiesta® sugar maple
Amelanchier canadensis serviceberry, shadblow serviceberry
Amelanchier laevis Allegheny serviceberry
Asimina triloba pawpaw
Carpinus caroliniana American hornbeam
Carya illinoinensis ‘Campbell NC-4′ pecan, ultra northern pecan
Carya illinoinensis ‘Lucas’ pecan
Carya illinoinensis ‘Norton’ pecan
Carya illinoinensis ‘Warren 346′ pecan
Carya ovata shagbark hickory
Celtis occidentalis hackberry
Cercis canadensis eastern redbud
Crataegus crus-galli cockspur hawthorn
Crataegus phaenopyrum Washington hawthorn
Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’ green hawthorn
Cryptomeria japonica ‘Yoshino’ Japanese cedar
Diospyros virginiana persimmon
Gymnocladus dioicus Kentucky coffeetree
Magnolia virginiana sweetbay magnolia
Malus coronaria sweet crabapple
Malus domestica ‘Co-op 30’ Enterprise™ apple
Malus domestica ‘Co-Op 31’ Winecrisp™ apple
Malus domestica ‘Freedom’ apple
Malus domestica ‘Golden Delicious’ apple
Malus domestica ‘Liberty’ apple
Malus domestica ‘Nova Spy’ apple
Malus ‘Indian Summer’ flowering crabapple
Nyssa sylvatica blackgum
Pinus strobus eastern white pine
Pinus strobus ‘Fastigiata’ eastern white pine
Prunus cerasus ‘Eubank’ Sweet Cherry Pie™ sour cherry
Prunus persica ‘Contender’ peach
Prunus persica ‘PF 27A’ Flamin Fury® peach
Prunus serotina black cherry
Ptelea trifoliata common hoptree
Pyrus pyrifolia ‘Olympic’ Asian pear
Pyrus pyrifolia ‘Shinko’ Asian pear
Pyrus pyrifolia ‘Shinseiki’ Asian pear
Quercus alba white oak
Quercus bicolor swamp white oak
Quercus coccinea scarlet oak
Quercus montana chestnut oak
Quercus rubra northern red oak
Robinia pseudoacacia black locust
Salix nigra black willow
Sassafras albidum sassafras
Thuja occidentalis American arborvitae, eastern white cedar, northern white cedar
Tilia americana basswood
Tsuga canadensis eastern hemlock
Botanical Name Common Name
Aesculus parviflora bottlebrush buckeye
Aesculus pavia red buckeye
Aronia melanocarpa black chokeberry
Buxus sinica var. insularis ‘Wintergreen’ Korean boxwood
Ceanothus americanus New Jersey tea
Cephalanthus occidentalis buttonbush
Cornus racemosa gray dogwood
Corylus americana hazelnut
Euonymus atropurpureus wahoo
Hydrangea arborescens wild hydrangea
Hydrangea quercifolia oakleaf hydrangea
Hypericum frondosum ‘Sunburst’ St. John’s wort
Ilex verticillata winterberry
Lindera benzoin spicebush
Lonicera canadensis American fly honeysuckle, American honeysuckle
Physocarpus opulifolius ninebark
Rhus aromatica fragrant sumac
Rhus copallinum winged sumac
Rhus glabra smooth sumac
Rosa carolina pasture rose
Rubus odoratus flowering raspberry
Salix discolor pussy willow
Salix humilis prairie willow
Sambucus canadensis American black elderberry, American elder
Sambucus nigra ‘Haschberg’ black elderberry, black European elderberry
Staphylea trifolia American bladdernut
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus coralberry
Viburnum cassinoides witherod
Viburnum dentatum southern arrowwood
Viburnum nudum ‘Bulk’ Brandywine™ possum haw
Viburnum rhytidophyllum leatherleaf viburnum
Botanical Name Common Name
Actinidia arguta ‘Geneva’ hardy kiwi
Actinidia arguta ‘Meader’ hardy kiwi
Campsis grandiflora ‘Morning Calm’ Chinese trumpet creeper
Clematis virginiana virgin’s bower, woodbine
Humulus lupulus var. lupuloides common hops
Lonicera sempervirens trumpet honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens f. sulphurea ‘John Clayton’ trumpet honeysuckle
Vitis labrusca ‘Concord’ fox grape
Herbaceous Perennials
Botanical Name Common Name
Achillea millefolium yarrow
Achillea ‘Moonshine’ yarrow
Actaea racemosa black snakeroot
Adiantum pedatum northern maidenhair fern
Agastache ‘Black Adder’ giant hyssop
Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ giant hyssop
Agastache foeniculum anise hyssop
Ageratina altissima white snakeroot
Ajuga reptans ‘Bronze Beauty’ bugleweed
Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ blue star
Amsonia hubrichtii Arkansas blue star
Anaphalis margaritacea pearly everlasting
Anemone × ‘MACANE001’ Wild Swan™ Japanese anemone
Anemone canadensis Canada anemone
Anemone virginiana thimbleweed
Antennaria plantaginifolia lady’s tobacco, plantain-leaved pussytoes, pussytoes
Aquilegia canadensis eastern columbine
Aquilegia canadensis ‘Corbett’ eastern columbine, wild columbine
Aquilegia canadensis ‘Little Lanterns’ eastern columbine, wild columbine
Aruncus dioicus goat’s beard
Asarum canadense wild ginger
Asclepias incarnata swamp milkweed
Asclepias purpurascens purple milkweed
Asclepias speciosa showy milkweed
Asclepias syriaca common milkweed
Asclepias tuberosa butterfly milkweed
Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yellow’ butterfly milkweed
Asclepias verticillata whorled milkweed
Astilbe × arendsii ‘Fanal’ astilbe
Astilbe chinensis var. taquetii ‘Purpurlanze’ Chinese astilbe
Baptisia tinctoria wild indigo
Blephilia ciliata Ohio horsemint
Blephilia hirsuta hairy woodmint
Boltonia asteroides false aster, false chamomile
Bouteloua curtipendula side-oats grama
Calamintha nepeta subsp. glandulosa ‘White Cloud’ calamint
Caltha palustris marsh marigold
Carex appalachica Appalachian sedge
Carex cephalophora oval-leaf sedge
Carex cherokeensis Cherokee sedge
Carex eburnea bristle leaf sedge, bristle leaved-sedge
Carex gravida heavy sedge
Carex grayi gray sedge, mace sedge
Carex hirsutella hairy green sedge
Carex muhlenbergii sand sedge
Carex pensylvanica Pennsylvania sedge
Carex plantaginea plantain-leaved sedge, seersucker sedge
Carex platyphylla broad-leaf sedge
Carex radiata eastern star sedge
Carex stricta tussock sedge
Carex vulpinoidea American fox sedge, fox sedge
Caryopteris × clandonensis ‘Longwood Blue’ bluebeard
Chelone glabra white turtlehead
Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’ turtlehead
Chrysogonum virginianum var. australe green-and-gold
Chrysopsis mariana Maryland goldenaster
Claytonia virginica spring beauty, Virginia spring beauty
Conoclinium coelestinum blue mistflower
Coreopsis ‘Gilded Lace’ gilded lace tickseed, tickseed
Coreopsis palmata prairie tickseed, stiff tickseed
Coreopsis verticillata thread-leaf coreopsis, whorled coreopsis, whorled tickseed
Cryptotaenia canadensis Canadian honewort, honewort
Dalea purpurea purple prairie clover
Danthonia spicata poverty oatgrass
Delphinium exaltatum tall larkspur
Deschampsia cespitosa tufted hair grass
Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’ tufted hair grass
Dicentra cucullaria Dutchman’s breeches
Dicentra eximia wild bleeding heart
Dichanthelium clandestinum deertongue
Echinacea purpurea eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea ‘Pink Double Delight’ purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea ‘Rubinstern’ Ruby Star eastern purple coneflower
Eragrostis spectabilis purple love grass
Erigeron pulchellus ‘Lynnhaven Carpet’ Robin’s plantain
Eriogonum allenii ‘Little Rascal’ shale barrens buckwheat
Eryngium yuccifolium rattlesnake master
Eupatorium perfoliatum boneset
Euphorbia corollata flowering spurge
Eurybia divaricata white wood aster
Eurybia macrophylla big leaf aster
Eurybia macrophylla ‘Twilight’ bigleaf aster
Eurybia spectabilis showy aster
Euthamia graminifolia flat-top goldentop, grass-leaved goldenrod, lance-leaved goldentop
Eutrochium purpureum sweet joe-pye weed
Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’ queen of the prairie
Fragaria vesca woodland strawberry
Fragaria virginiana common strawberry, Virginia strawberry, wild strawberry
Geranium maculatum spotted geranium
Geranium maculatum ‘Espresso’ spotted geranium
Geum triflorum prairie smoke
Gillenia trifoliata Bowman’s root
Helianthus decapetalus thin-leaf sunflower
Helianthus divaricatus woodland sunflower
Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ sunflower
Heracleum maximum cow parsnip
Heuchera americana ‘Dale’s Strain’ American alumroot, coral bells
Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’ hairy alumroot
Iris versicolor harlequin blueflag
Justicia americana American water willow
Lamium maculatum ‘Purple Dragon’ spotted dead nettle
Lavandula × intermedia ‘Niko’ Phenomenal® lavender
Liatris microcephala smallhead blazing star
Liatris pycnostachya cattail gayfeather, prairie blazing star
Liatris scariosa blazing star
Lobelia × speciosa ‘PAS905521’ Starship™ Scarlet cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis ‘New Moon Maroon’ cardinal flower
Lobelia siphilitica great blue lobelia
Lupinus perennis sundial lupine, wild lupine
Lysimachia lanceolata lanceleaf loosestrife
Lysimachia lanceolata var. purpurea lanceleaf loosestrife
Lythrum alatum winged loosestrife
Meehania cordata Meehan’s mint
Melanthium virginicum bunch flower
Mertensia virginica Virginia bluebells
Monarda bradburiana eastern bee balm
Monarda clinopodia white bergamot
Monarda didyma bee balm, scarlet bee balm
Monarda fistulosa wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa ‘Clair Grace’ wild bergamot
Monarda punctata spotted bee balm
Nepeta ‘Early Bird’ catmint
Oenothera biennis common evening primrose
Oenothera fruticosa narrow-leaf evening primrose, sundrops
Oenothera fruticosa ‘Fireworks’ sundrops
Orontium aquaticum golden club
Osmunda cinnamomea cinnamon fern
Osmunda claytoniana flowering fern, interrupted fern
Pachysandra procumbens Allegheny spurge
Packera aurea golden groundsel, golden ragwort
Packera obovata roundleaf groundsel, roundleaf ragwort
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Minnie Shaylor’ Chinese peony, common garden peony
Peltandra virginica green arrow arum
Penstemon digitalis beardtongue
Penstemon hirsutus hairy beardtongue
Penstemon laevigatus eastern smooth beardtongue
Perideridia americana eastern yampah, wild dill
Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Superba’ Russian sage
Phlox carolina ‘Kim’ Carolina phlox
Phlox paniculata garden phlox, summer phlox
Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’ summer phlox
Phlox pilosa downy phlox
Phlox subulata moss phlox
Phyla lanceolata lanceleaf fogfruit
Physostegia virginiana ‘Pink Manners’ obedient plant
Podophyllum peltatum may apple
Polystichum acrostichoides Christmas fern
Potentilla simplex common cinquefoil
Prunella vulgaris heal-all, self-heal
Pycnanthemum flexuosum Appalachian mountain mint
Pycnanthemum incanum hoary mountain mint
Pycnanthemum muticum clustered mountain mint
Pycnanthemum tenuifolium narrowleaf mountain mint
Pycnanthemum virginianum Virginia mountain mint
Ranunculus flammula lesser spearwort
Ratibida columnifera long-headed coneflower
Ratibida pinnata gray headed coneflower
Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia hirta black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia subtomentosa sweet coneflower
Rudbeckia triloba brown-eyed Susan
Ruellia humilis wild petunia
Sagittaria latifolia broadleaf arrowhead, duck-potato
Salvia × sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ May Night wood sage
Salvia lyrata lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata ‘Purple Knockout’ lyreleaf sage
Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ woodland sage
Sanguinaria canadensis bloodroot
Schizachyrium scoparium little bluestem
Scutellaria incana downy skullcap
Scutellaria ovata heart-leaved skullcap
Scutellaria serrata showy skullcap
Sedum ternatum ‘Larinem Park’ woodland stonecrop
Senna hebecarpa northern wild senna
Silene virginica fire pink
Silphium perfoliatum cup plant
Sisyrinchium angustifolium blue-eyed grass
Sisyrinchium angustifolium ‘Lucerne’ blue-eyed grass
Solidago bicolor silverrod
Solidago caesia bluestem goldenrod
Solidago flexicaulis zizag goldenrod
Solidago juncea early goldenrod
Solidago nemoralis old field goldenrod
Solidago odora sweet goldenrod
Solidago rigida stiff goldenrod
Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’ rough-stem goldenrod
Solidago sphacelata ‘Golden Fleece’ goldenrod
Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’ betony
Stylophorum diphyllum celadine poppy, wood poppy
Symphyotrichum cordifolium blue wood aster
Symphyotrichum ericoides white heath aster
Symphyotrichum ericoides f. prostratus ‘Snow Flurry’ heath aster
Symphyotrichum lateriflorum calico aster
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’ New England aster
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium ‘October Skies’ aromatic aster
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ aromatic aster
Symphyotrichum pilosum frost aster, hairy aster, hairy white oldfield aster
Symplocarpus foetidus skunk cabbage
Taenidia integerrima yellow pimpernel
Teucrium canadense American germander, American wood sage, Canadian germander
Thalictrum rocherbrunianum meadow rue
Tradescantia ohiensis blue jacket
Tradescantia virginiana spider lily, Virginia spidwerwort
Verbena hastata American blue vervain, swamp verbena
Verbena stricta hoary verbena, hoary vervain
Vernonia glauca broadleaf ironweed, upland ironweed
Vernonia lettermannii ‘Iron Butterfly’ narrow-leaf ironweed
Vernonia noveboracensis New York ironweed
Veronicastrum virginicum Culver’s root
Viola pedata bird’s foot violet
Viola riviniana dog violet, wood violet
Viola sororia common blue violet
Viola striata cream violet
Waldsteinia fragarioides barren strawberry
Zizia aptera heart-leaved golden Alexander, meadow zizia
Zizia aurea golden Alexander
Botanical Name Common Name
Allium cernuum nodding onion
Camassia quamash camas
Crocus minimus ‘Spring Beauty’ pygmy crocus
Crocus sativus autumn crocus
Crocus tommasinianus ‘Lilac Beauty’ early crocus
Eranthis hyemalis winter aconite
Fritillaria meleagris checkered lily, chequered lily, snake’s head fritillary
Galanthus elwesii greater snowdrop, snowdrop
Galanthus woronowii giant snowdrop, snowdrop
Muscari armeniacum grape hyacinth
Narcissus (Cyclamineus Group) ‘Jetfire’ cyclamineus daffodil
Narcissus (Jonquilla Group) ‘Pueblo’ jonquil daffodil, jonquilla daffodil
Narcissus (Jonquilla Group) ‘Sabrosa’ jonquilla daffodil, miniature daffodil
Narcissus (Tazetta Group) ‘Canaliculatus’ tazetta daffodil
Narcissus (Tazetta Group) ‘Minnow’ tazetta daffodil
Narcissus (Triandrus Group) ‘Hawera’ triandrus daffodil
Narcissus (Triandrus Group) ‘Sunlight Sensation’ triandrus daffodil
Narcissus × odorus Campernelle jonquil, jonquilla daffodil
Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Golden Bells’ hoop petticoat daffodil
Narcissus fernandesii var. cordubensis Fernandes daffodil, jonquilla daffodil
Narcissus obvallaris Tenby daffodil
Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus ‘Pheasant’s Eye’ old pheasant’s eye, poeticus daffodil
Scilla mischtschenkoana white squill
Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’ Siberian squill
Tulipa clusiana var. chrysantha golden lady tulip, lady tulip
Tulipa clusiana var. stellata lady tulip, star-flowered tulip
Tulipa heweri Hewer’s tulip, species tulip
Tulipa humilis Violacea Group crocus tulip
Tulipa kolpakowskiana Kolpakowsky’s tulip, tulip
Tulipa linifolia flax-leaved tulip
Tulipa orphanidea species tulip, wild tulip
Tulipa sylvestris wild tulip, woodland tulip
Tulipa turkestanica Turkestan tulip


Documents and Media

Planning Docs (if applicable):