How to Create Your Own Pollinator Garden

May 16, 2023

We are all attracted to homes with great curb appeal. One of the best ways to make your home appealing to home buyers is through the use of colour in the garden. Why not meet that goal while supporting our crucial garden pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other insects.

Here are some steps to help you create your own pollinator garden.

1. Choose a Suitable Location:

Choose a spot in your yard that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, with good drainage. The area needs to be protected from strong winds and have access to water.

2. Plan the Garden Layout:

Create a simple sketch of your garden considering the space available and the types of pollinators you’d like to attract. Plant in 4-foot diameter clumps to increase the impact in attracting the various species. Ensure a variety of shapes, heights and textures to increase the visitor size.

3. Choose the Right Plants:

  • Plant purple, blue, and violet flowers! Bees have good colour vision and especially love purple.
  • Aim for a succession of blooms so they bloom from Spring through Fall to ensure a never-ending supply of nectar and pollen.
  • Plant tall sunflowers that feed pollinators and act as a natural bird feeder for smaller species like finches and chickadees.
  • Pussy Willow is an excellent, early-blooming, native plant. Native plants are ideal as they are better adapted to the local climate and are fairly low maintenance.

Other great examples of pollinator varieties for Ontario gardeners:

  • Stonecrop
  • Milkweed
  • Coneflower
  • Goldenrod
  • Cape Fuchsia
  • Yarrow
  • Bluebeard

4. Provide Shelter:

Be sure to include bird houses, rocks, logs, and leaves as shelter and nesting sites for pollinators. A small pond or bird bath is also a wonderful way to provide them access to water. These will also need regular maintenance to ensure the surface is clean and the water as fresh as possible.

5. Avoid Pesticides and Limit Artificial Light:

Instead of pesticides, use natural methods like companion plants and biological controls to manage pests. Use a rake to clean up rather than a loud, polluting leaf blower that destroys natural debris where insects nest. Turn out lights early. Insects and birds are sensitive to artificial light impeding navigation, reproduction and their ability to find food.

6. Maintain the Garden: 

Regular maintenance will be critical to continuing to attract and support pollinators. Water and fertilize as needed, remove any weeds, and deadhead all spent blooms to encourage flowering.

Don’t forget about other home maintenance to maximize your investment. In case you missed it, here’s our Spring Maintenance Checklist.

Once again, Happy Spring!