The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences welcomes you to visit the Nature Neighborhood Garden at their Prairie Ridge Ecostation, a place for wildlife and learning. The Nature Neighborhood garden features sun-loving NC native plants attractive to both wildlife and humans. The garden also features a water-harvesting, green-roofed pavilion, a dry streambed that directs runoff to a rain garden, two small bog gardens, and an above-ground pond. It is a magical and peaceful place to visit throughout the year and enjoy three seasons of flowers along with a myriad of colorful insects and birds.

What is a nature neighborhood garden?

Nature neighborhoods are areas such as residential backyards, school grounds, or environmental education centers that are enhanced to attract wildlife and to provide for their needs. Additionally, this garden serves as an outdoor teaching site for students, as a demonstration and learning area for homeowners, and as a research laboratory where we can experiment and demonstrate ways to raise native plants, attract wildlife, and provide enjoyment and learning opportunities.

The garden currently features many of the following species of plants suitable for your yard:

  • Aristolochia tomentosaWooly Pipevine
  • Asclepias lanceolataFew Flower Milkweed
  • Asclepias tuberosaButterflyweed
  • Asimina tribolaPaw Paw
  • Baptisia australisBlue Wild Indigo
  • Bignonia capreolataCrossvine
  • Cephalanthus occidentalisButtonbush
  • Ceratophyllum demersumCoontail
  • Chrysogonum virginianumGreen and Gold
  • Coreopsis lanceolataLance Leaved Tickseed
  • Coreopsis majorGreater Tickseed
  • Cyrilla racemifloraTi ti
  • Echinacea purpureaPurple Coneflower
  • Eryngium integrifoliumBlueflower Eryngo
  • Eryngium yuccifoliumButton Snakeroot
  • Euonymus americanaHeart’s-a-bustin’
  • Eurybia paludosaSavanna Grass-leaf Aster
  • Eutrochium fistulosumHollow-stem Joe-pye-weed
  • Foeniculum vulgareBronze Fennel
  • Gaillardia pulchellaBlanketflower
  • Gelsemium sempervirensCarolina Jessamine
  • Hamamelis virginianaWitch Hazel
  • Helianthus atrorubensPurple Disk Sunflower
  • Heliopsis helianthoidesOx Eye Sunflower
  • Hibiscus coccineaScarlet Rose Mallow
  • Ilex deciduaPossum Haw
  • Ilex glabra ‘Shamrock’Inkberry Holly
  • Iris christataDwarf Crested Iris
  • Itea virginicaVirginia Sweetspire
  • Liatris spicataBlazing stars
  • Lobelia cardinalisCardinal Flower
  • Lobelia syphiliticaGreat Blue Lobelia
  • Lonicera sempervirensCoral Honeysuckle
  • Marshallia graminifoliaGrassleaf Barbara’s Buttons
  • Marshallia obovata var. obovataPiedmont Barbara’s Buttons
  • Monarda punctataHorse Mint
  • Nymphaea odorataWhite Water Lily
  • Nyssa sylvaticaBlack Gum
  • Oenothera fruticosaSundrops
  • Osmunda regalisRoyal fern
  • Packera anonymaSmall’s Ragwort
  • Packera aureaGolden Ragwort
  • Penstemon smalliiSmall's Beardtongue
  • Phlox nivalisTrailing Phlox
  • Phlox paniculataFall Phlox
  • Pontederia cordataPickerelweed
  • Pycnanthemum incanaMountain Mint
  • Rudbeckia hirtaBlack-eyed Susan
  • Saracenia flavaPitcher Plant
  • Saururus cernuusLizard’s Tail
  • Scutellaria integrifoliaLarge Flowered Skullcap
  • Solidago rugosaRough-leaved Goldenrod
  • Stokesia laevisStokes aster
  • Symphyotrichum grandiflorumLargeflower Aster
  • Symphyotrichum oblongifoliusE. Aromatic Aster
  • Silphium asteriscusStarry Rosinweed
  • Silphium asteriscusRosinweed
  • Silphium perfoliatumCup Plant
  • Thelypteris kunthiiSouthern Shield Fern
  • Tradescantia hirsuticaulisHairystem Spiderwort
  • Tradescantia virginianaVirginia Spiderwort
  • Vernonia acaulisStemless Ironweed
  • Wisteria frutescensAmerican Wisteria
  • Zephyranthes atamascaAtamasco Lily
  • Zigadena densusCrow Poison

(Printable version of our plant list)

The Museum staff shares the garden with teachers, homeowners, and children of all ages during special events, programs, and workshops at Prairie Ridge. We invite you to visit the Nature Neighborhood Garden Monday–Saturday, 9 am–4:30 pm and Sunday, noon–4:30 pm throughout the year.