These tips can help you spy wildflowers, bees, and butterflies near you. (For more information and links based on these suggestions, visit “Petal Power“.)
- Check nearby national, state, or even city parks for organized or individual hikes and walks during your region’s wildflower blooming period.
- You can enjoy azaleas in the Great Smoky Mountains, tufted poppies in Yosemite, mountain bluebells in Cedar Breaks (Utah), yuccas and ocotillos in Joshua Tree (Calif.), and penstemon in Mount Rainier.
- For national parks, go to NPS.gov and search for “wildflowers.” Some other suggestions for viewing wildflowers in NPS areas: http://www.eaglecreek.com/blog/national-park-blooms-where-see-best-wildflowers.
- Visit a local flower festival. Many cities and towns celebrate spring and summer with these events.
- Lilac Festival, Mackinac Island, Mich. https://www.mackinacisland.org/mackinac-island-lilac-festival/
- Dogwood-Azalea Festival, Charleston, Mo. http://www.charlestonmo.org/festival/
- Apple Blossom Festival, Wenatchee, Wash. http://www.appleblossom.org
- Tulip Festival, Skagit Valley, Wis. http://www.tulipfestival.org/
- Bluebonnet Festival in Chappell Hill, Texas http://www.chappellhillmuseum.org/bluebonnet.html
- Wings and Wildflowers Festival, Leesburg, Fla. https://www.wingsandwildflowers.com
- Stop by your local arboretum and botanical or public gardens. Some of the country’s best include the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., (http://www.usna.usda.gov) and the 4.5-acre International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Ore. (http://www.rosegardenstore.org/rose-gardens.cfm)
- Find an arboretum or botanical garden in your state.
- Plant your own pollinator-friendly wildflower garden to attract birds, bees, and butterflies.
- Free downloadable pollinator-friendly planting guides by region are available from Pollinator Partnership: http://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm.
- The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has a database of native North American plants: https://www.wildflower.org.
- The Audubon Society offers tips for growing native plants that attract birds: http://www.audubon.org/plantsforbirds.
For Avian Aficionados
- Flock to your local or regional aviary, wildlife refuge, or zoo.
- Put a bird feeder — or several, so you attract more species — in your yard or check out the Cornell Ornithology Lab’s Feederwatch webcam to see which colorful feathered friends are stopping by for a snack.
- Take a bird-watching hike with your local chapter of the National Audubon Society. They also have loads of suggestions for taking great bird photographs.
- Learn more about birds by taking online tutorials from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology or download its Merlin Bird ID app, a handheld field guide.
- Visita local butterfly garden, house, or exhibit for more sure sightings.
- Spy butterflies by visiting any wildflower, botanical garden, or any natural hiking area.Patience is required; they don’t want to be seen! Here are some tips for finding them.
- Learn more about butterflies:
This originally appeared as “Closer to Home” in “Petal Power” in the July/August 2017 issue of Experience Life.