Why we choose specific flowers at “Birds on the Brink”
We are very careful in our flower plant choices at the Sanctuary. The 2,000 plants that we’ve chosen are ones that are native to Georgia, because it’s native flowers that the native butterflies and bees are attracted to. For instance, we could pick a tropical flower that’s really pretty, like a tropical milkweed, but the native Monarch butterflies will never be drawn to it. Monarchs are only drawn to the native milkweed and wouldn’t touch tropical milkweed. They would go and look at it, but wouldn’t put its eggs on it which would provide the caterpillars that the Bentley Butterfly Gardens need to flourish.
What is being discovered by the University of Georgia, as well as us, is that a lot of our native flowers are being destroyed or are becoming rare. Instead of calling them extinct, the word being used is “rare.” So what we’re doing at the Sanctuary is providing as many of the native plants that will support the native butterflies and bees.
We also support the native bees so that they may create native honey, also called regional honey. We want native or raw honey that is specific to our region, as it is immensely helpful for people with allergies to local pollen. So, local bees go to local flowers that create local honey, which can be taken by people as a treatment for a local environmental pollen allergy. People eat the local honey, which helps them with their allergies. And it is all pollen-based.
Since we started making and selling honey this way, every one of our honey jars flies off the shelf!