“Plant it and they will come” is a statement you’ll often hear from people growing native plants. It emphasizes how easy it is to grow them, and how quickly wildlife will find them. It really is that simple.

In 2017, I turned a patch of our Ottawa, Ontario front lawn into a pollinator garden. Even in its first year, it attracted so many bees, butterflies, beneficial insects, and even hummingbirds.

Before (2015)
September 2018 and the native plants are thriving.

Pollinator populations are declining due to habitat loss, pesticides, and climate change. Urban gardens can provide new, safe habitats for pollinators in need. You can do it too! I’m happy to share with you what I’ve learned.

About my garden

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this pollinator garden was one of the best decisions I ever made, and that it has changed my life. Read more…

You can read about why and how I created my garden in a blog post I wrote for the Wild Pollinator Partnership. Perhaps you will be inspired to start your own pollinator garden.

Brochure

Insects aren’t the only visitors to my garden – lots of people have stopped to talk to me while I’m outside. Early in 2018, I created an educational brochure (PDF) and placed it in my garden for when I’m not there. I cover the requirements of a successful pollinator garden and where to find native plants in the Ottawa area. I recently updated it to add pollinator-friendly garden maintenance tips. Over 150 brochure have been taken so far.

Brochures available in the garden

Learn more

Some people who visit, despite being interested in starting their own pollinator garden, still seem apprehensive. Are you thinking: “I can’t have a pollinator garden because I don’t have a green thumb”, or “I don’t know where to start”?

With this web site, I want to bridge that gap between interest and action, to eliminate obstacles, and to give you the confidence to start your own garden. You can help pollinators, and enrich your life along the way.

Getting started

Okay, are you convinced that creating a pollinator garden is a great idea, and a lot of fun to boot? Now it’s time to create your own garden.

For this section, I’m using a sample garden plan to show you my process for creating the pollinator gardens in our front and back yards.

Pollinator-friendly garden maintenance

During my pollinator garden research, I learned that a surprising number of conventional gardening practices are actually harmful to pollinators. After years of gardening, I’ve had to retrain myself. Many typical gardening tasks are all about tidiness, so I am now a more laid-back gardener.

Addressing challenges

  • What will the neighbours think?
  • My yard is too small
  • My yard is too shady
  • My yard is in a poor location
  • I don’t have a green thumb
  • I don’t have time
  • I’m afraid I’ll get stung
  • Ticks: preparing for the future

More than a pollinator garden

  • bird garden
  • outdoor classroom

Teaching pollinator gardening classes

I’ve also volunteered to teach several classes in 2019. I’ll keep you posted.