On any given summer’s day, you’re sure to see them flutter past—butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. In their search for nectar, they flit from flower to flower, catching pollen along the way and spreading it around.

About 75 percent of all flowering plants, from peaches and almonds to coffee and chocolate, rely on pollinators. More than 200,000 species act as pollinators, but with the exception of 1000 bat, hummingbird and small mammal species, the rest are insects like beetles, bees, ants, moths and butterflies.

June is National Pollinators Month, celebrating pollen- and nectar-producing gardens and the creatures whose lives revolve around them. With our many gardens and parks, Fairfax County is home to millions of pollinators and we actively work to protect them and increase their numbers. Whether you’re here in June, spring or later in summer, you’ll find them moving pollen around at all the sites below

See pollinators in their natural habitats.

Don Sweeney - Butterfly - Bees - Pollinators - FCPA

Since local plants and animals evolved together, native plants are essential for hosting the egglaying and larval stages critical to the life cycle of butterflies and moths. The American Horticultural Society’s River Farm and Green Spring Gardens both have native plant demonstration gardens to inspire your own pollinator garden. You’ll also find pollinator demonstration areas at Hidden Oaks Nature Center and Hidden Pond Nature Center. In addition, Hidden Oaks is a leader in monarch butterfly tagging, monitoring and restoration.

Three parks in the area that are pollinator demonstration sites go beyond to feature pollinator-supporting habitats that are actively managed by the Fairfax County Park Authority. Huntley Meadows Park is the big kahuna of everything with wings; Ellanor C. Lawrence Park has many additional areas of interest for explorers; and Riverbend Park, just north of Great Falls Park, is perfect for pollinator fans who also love a jaw-dropping river view.

Meadowlark Gardens - Spring - Tulips - Charlotte Geary - OBVFX

A trio of additional parks are known for their butterfly habitats in particular. The historic garden at George Mason’s Gunston Hall is a Certified Butterfly Garden by the American Butterfly Association. Black and yellow swallowtail butterflies are known to frequent Mason’s milkweed, bee balm, bergamot, asters and vegetable crops. The Margaret Kinder Pollinator Garden at Lake Accotink hosts several pollinator events each June and features native plants throughout the year. Last, but certainly not least, is Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. This spectacular 95-acre garden is filled with both ornamental native flowers and plants, has a dedicated Butterfly Garden and is home to the Western Hemisphere’s only traditional public Korean Bell Garden. It also has a fairy habitat for the kids to marvel at.

Drop by a pollinator’s workplace.

Arcadia Farm - GardeningCourtesy Arcadia Farms

Wherever you find flowers and crops, you’ll find pollinators working hard. The families who own Nalls Produce, Hidden Gems Farm and Cox Farms depend on pollinators to survive. All are open to visitors and have markets where you can buy fresh goods. Cox Farms has additional attractions like Foamhenge, a Styrofoam recreation of Stonehenge, and year-round festivals and attractions.

There are also historic farms you can visit where you can learn about our nation’s farming legacy. The farm and gardens at George Washington’s Mount Vernon explore a Colonial approach to agriculture. The demonstration farm at Frying Pan Farm Park recreates rural life from the 1920s-1940s. And Arcadia Farm, on the grounds of Historic Woodlawn, cultivates local food systems using contemporary means.

The Giving Garden - an urban farm located on the Plaza at Tysons Corner Center
Courtesy Tysons Corner Center, credit to TimeLine Media

Another unique way to visit hard-working pollinators is at the Giving Garden on the Plaza at Tysons Corner Center. This 500 square foot sustainable urban farm operates from May – October and produces over 50 varieties of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The farm is harvested live each Friday. Rounding out the pollinator workplace category are garden centers like Merrifield Garden Center, Meadows Farms Nurseries, and Betty’s Azalea Ranch, where flowers and native plants abound.

Discover the health benefits of local raw honey.

Wakefield Farmers Market- Fall

While experts debate whether or not local honey has any significant impact on allergies, there are a number of health benefits everyone can agree upon. Raw, unpasteurized honey can help heal wounds, aid digestion, soothe a sore throat, provide antioxidant benefits, deliver antibacterial and antifungal help, and boost brain health.

In addition to farms and markets like Cox Farms and Nalls Produce, you can find local raw honey at Fairfax County’s Farmers Markets, operating Wednesdays through Sundays, spring to fall. Virginia Mercantile also sells local honey. And it doesn’t get any more fresh and local than buying it from the honey farm itself at Hall’s Honey Farm or DePaul’s Urban Farm.

Dine and drink with the pollinators.

Tequila Honey Squeeze - Cocktails - Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar
Tequila Honey Squeeze, courtesy Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar

Many bars, wineries and restaurants in the region support pollinators in various ways. Restaurants like L’Auberge Chez Francois, 2941 and Belle Haven Pizzeria have their own gardens where they grow herbs and salad produce to the delight of local bees and butterflies (as well as to the delight of customers who can dine on uber fresh and local greens.)

In the beverage category, Woodlawn Press Winery uses honey to make their seasonal Barrel-Aged Blueberry Mead and Cherry Quite Contrary Mead. Robek’s and BoBaPop Tea Bar feature smoothies with honey and bee pollen. Lazy Dog Restaurants make a seasonal Tequila Honey Squeeze cocktail. And Harth at the Hilton McLean makes The Hive cocktail with honey from the hives on their roof. Another rooftop hive that fuels menu items can be found at the Westfields Marriott.

Hilton McLean Beehives
Courtesy Hilton McLean Tysons Corner


Many species of bees, as well as monarch butterflies, are in danger of extinction. If you want to support pollinators, the best advice is to plant native species to create a pollinator-friendly environment at your home. You can also reduce or eliminate pesticides as you tend to your green spaces. For extra credit, install bee and bat houses and provide water for wildlife, changing it regularly to keep mosquitos at bay. The more you learn about pollinators, the more you respect the work they do and the more their contributions delight and amaze!