“Plant it and they will come” is the native plant gardeners’ rallying-cry. It emphasizes how easy it is to grow native plants, 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. I included many native plants, as well as other pollinator-friendly flowers. Even in its first year, the garden attracted many bees, butterflies, beneficial insects, and even hummingbirds.
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.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that creating this pollinator garden is one of the best decisions I ever made, and that it has changed my life. 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.
More than a pollinator garden
Once I started growing native plants for pollinators, the plants began to attract other wildlife too. We now have a resident toad, rabbit, and chipmunk, as well as many bird visitors stopping by for food and water. Our lifeless yard has become a small, but fully-functioning ecosystem. The whole family is learning about the plants, insects, birds, and animals around us.
You can do it too!
For the first time, I really feel like I am making a difference for wildlife and for the health of our environment. It may be a small difference, but it is a tangible one. I can see right in front of me that I’m now providing food and shelter for hundreds of bees and butterflies, and dozens of birds. I would never have imagined that my new pollinator garden would be so full of life.
If more people, like you, turn some unused lawn into a native plant garden, the impact of these gardens will add up. Plant it and they will come; it really is that simple. My garden is living proof. Go ahead, you can do it too!