Bear Garden

Buckingham County | Sponsor: Jefferson Chapter | Registered: January, 2011

In March, 2009 Dominion Power began construction of the 590-megawatt Bear Garden Power Station on the Bear Garden site. The facility, powered by natural gas turbines, began operation in May, 2011.

The Bear Garden Registry Site was a family property which included a variety of habitats: alluvial woods and fields and bluffs with rock outcrops along the James River and Bear Garden Creek; floodplains, oak-hickory pine woodlands, riparian wetlands, old fields in many stages of succession and a large pond. Once an active farm, it is now enjoyed for its rich diversity of plant life.

Furnace Field at Bear Garden Farm by Jean Buschmann

From the January, 2001 VNPS Bulletin:

Jefferson Chapter sponsors Bear Garden as 15th VNPS Registry Site

Jefferson Chapter is the sponsor of the 15th Virginia Native Plant Society Registry Site. Chapter members John and Jean Buschmann are the owners of Bear Garden located in the James River watershed near New Canton. The property has a variety of habitats: alluvial fields, bluffs with rock outcroppings along the James River and Bear Garden Creek, floodplains, oak-hickory-pine woodlands, riparian wetlands, old fields in various stages of succession and a large pond.

Several notable species are found: Galax urceolata is at its northernmost range; Gentiana clausa, at its eastern limit; and Trautvetteria caroliniensis which is also at its eastern limit and very rare in the Piedmont. Another species present here, Acalypha deamii, Deam’s three-seeded mercury, was not known in Virginia when the last Atlas of the Virginia Flora was published.

Thirteen species of orchids have been found on the property, including large displays of yellow ladyslippers in several locations. A colony of large whorled pogonia is also present.

The Buschmanns acquired Bear Garden in 1954 and moved there in 1963. The land was farmed until 1981 and has since been allowed to return to its natural state with some fields being mowed to provide open habitat.

With over 600 acres to explore, the chapter has many opportunities for plant study and Jean Buschmann has many species for her water color subjects.

VNPS warmly thanks the Buschmann family and Jefferson Chapter for recognizing this unique natural resource.

John Buschman wrote about his Bear Garden Farm in the Spring, 1986 Journal of the American Rhododendron Society. The article titled “Bear Garden Farm: Trials and Errors” also contains illustrations by his wife Jean. Illustrations are used here with permission of the American Rhododendron Society.

Bear Garden Farm Home by Jean Buschmann

About the VNPS Native Plant Site Registry