Sycamore Shoals is a Tennessee State Park that commemorates early history of the area.  Visitors to this historic site number over 300,000 each year. The park has many educational activities and events throughout the year, which can be found on the Sycamore Shoals website.


Children with their teachers and classmates come to view the gardens and learn about the metamorphosis of the Monarch Butterfly.  The Carter County Conservation Group also visits the park and the gardens each year as part of their curriculum.


This project was begun by the Master Gardener Class of 2006. By 2008 the design was approved by the Park Manager with the state of Tennessee agreeing to finance the purchase of 25 native species; 297 total plantings.


In 2010 a grant from the Elizabethton/Carter County Community Foundation was obtained to complete perimeter and inside garden paths for access and efficient maintenance of the pollinator garden. Members of other Master Gardener Classes help to maintain the following gardens:  



Pollinator Garden

Preparing the bed – first a layer of sand, then a layer compost and plant
Planting in the rich layer of compost. The walking trail by the Watauga River is in the background.
Some of our 297 plants (25 varieties of native plants)
Waiting for the rain and the sun
Inviting path to the inner garden
Blue Lobelia
Button Bush
Butterfly Weed and Button Bush
Mature Pollinator Garden
Chris Ramsey visits the gardens and admires the solidago rigida goldenrod.

The Pollinator Garden is a registered official Monarch Way Station.

The Milkweed is the only plant the Monarch Butterfly uses for laying eggs and for the caterpillars to eat
Monarch Chrysalis
Monarch Butterfly

The Pollinator Garden is included in the annual butterfly census of the North American Butterfly Association.  

Great Spangled Fritilliary Butterfly
Red Admiral Butterfly on a Coneflower
Zebra Swallowtail, State Butterfly of Tennessee
Garden with walkways


Herb Beds outside the kitchen cabin of Fort Watauga



Kitchen Garden just behind the Carter Mansion, the oldest frame house in Tennessee