Today’s photos are from Julianne Labreche in Ottawa, Ontario.
I am a Master Gardener who gardens and volunteers my skills in Ottawa. A few years ago, I removed all the grass in the front yard and created a pollinator garden for bees and butterflies. Then when that project was finished, I created a garden for the birds in the backyard.
These two spaces have a very different feel. The front yard is bright and sunny, filled with colorful flowers. The backyard is shady and protected, like a mini-forest, providing nesting habitat, food, and water for local birds.
By midsummer, the blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata, Zones 3–8) is in bloom in the front garden. It got its name because it slowly blankets an area with flowers. It is surrounded by bee balm (Monarda, Zones 4–9) and tickseed (Coreopsis, Zones 4–9) and many varieties of herbs.
I like to experiment by adding new native plants. Here is one that I planted just this spring, called prairie coneflower (Ratibida columnifera, Zones 4–9). It seems to grow well in my meadow-style garden.
Garden art is always fun in a pollinator garden. This one, made by a local artist, is situated in the middle of a daylily bed. Many of these plants were given to me by family members.
Sometimes simple plants are the best. I love the black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta, Zones 3–7) with the backdrop of ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, Zones 5–9).
To attract the pollinators, I grow Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium, Zones 4–9), swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata, Zones 3–6), and other kinds of milkweed. I had my first monarch butterfly sighting just yesterday.
These fiber bags are useful because they’re not too heavy and they allow me to mix and match plants around the garden. I like to mix annuals and perennials in these bags, rotating them around the garden.
Scarlet runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus, annual) are easy to grow and welcome hummingbirds to my backyard garden. The native cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis, Zones 3–9) is a hummingbird magnet. It prefers damp soil.
There are lots of native shrubs and trees in the backyard bearing fruit and seeds for birds. Notice the cutoff snag, or dead tree, that attracts many insects and therefore woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches.
Even though I garden for wildlife, I enjoy beauty too. I particularly like tough, easy-to-grow plants such as this ‘Jackmanii’ clematis (Clematis ‘Jackmanii’, Zones 4–8) with its big, purple blooms that twines high on the back deck every year.
Have a garden you’d like to share?
Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!
To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.
Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.