Pollinator gardens make a beautiful addition to your property and also help nature thrive. A well designed pollinator garden will attract gorgeous butterflies, bees, and birds with flowers that bloom from spring to fall and provide a natural food source in the form of nectar and pollen.
Pollinators provide a valuable service to humans by pollinating the food crops we depend on and the flowers that we enjoy. It is to our advantage to grow gardens with Ontario native plants that pollinators need to survive. We also benefit from the value healthy gardens bring to our properties and the ecological services of beneficial insects that help control pest insects. Pictured is a native bumble bee enjoying purple echinacea.
Butterflies depend on specific plants for their offspring's survival. Only Ontario native plants support butterflies as their natural host to lay eggs and provide food for the developing caterpillars. The most well know example is the monarch butterfly and common milkweed. Another example is the northern crescent butterfly and brown-eyed susan (pictured above). Not only do we help butterflies by planting their host plants, we also supply birds with the caterpillars they need to feed their young. The caterpillars do not infest plants and do very little damage. It is just as nature intended.
Native shrubs are another excellent addition to a pollinator garden. Shrubs that produce flowers and berries for pollinators and birds include dogwood, chokecherry, and ninebark to name just a few. Pictured is a northern azure butterfly on its host, the red osier dogwood.
If you have the available space, adding a native tree to your garden plan can have additional benefits. Trees add value to property, provide shade to buildings in the summer and also create habitat. A great option is a hackberry which is a host for several butterfly species, attracts birds, and does well in a variety of soil types, including clay.
Another benefit of pollinator gardens is the source of enjoyment, entertainment and education they provide. Watching the butterflies, bees, and birds that visit your garden can be a relaxing and fun activity. Learning about the variety of species and how they behave is a great hobby for both adults and children. There are a number of community and educational activities that you can participate in, such as:
Contact us to start planning your pollinator garden today!