Garden Photo of the Day

Gardening for Birds, Bees, Butterflies, and Beauty

Pollinator garden in Ontario

large garden bed full of colorful flowers

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.

flowers in front of a 'welcome to my garden' signIt’s always fun to start with seeds. These nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus, annual), whose flowers and leaves are edible, will produce lots of blooms over the summer months.

large garden bed full of colorful flowersBy 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.

coneflowers with dark red petalsI 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.

glass and medal sculpture in the gardenGarden 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).

small, light pink flowersTo 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.

container with annuals in the gardenThese 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.

vine growing in a container with a trellisScarlet 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.

trees and shrubs around backyard deckThere 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.

vine with big purple flowersEven 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?

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View Comments


  1. sandyprowse 07/19/2022

    A wonderful garden and in cold Ottawa as well. Congratulations. Loved the idea of scarlet runners in the container, I will try that. The most attractive back deck ever. Thanks for sharing!

  2. garden1953 07/19/2022

    Very beautiful! Love your gardens. Thanks for sharing!

  3. User avater
    user-7007816 07/19/2022

    Gardens for bees and birds and people too. Stunning gardens!

  4. JanetInCwood 07/19/2022

    Just a lovely garden for all. Thank you for sharing.

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/19/2022

    Love your prairie coneflower.

  6. User avater
    simplesue 07/19/2022

    I've never seen a prairie coneflower (Ratibida columnifera) like you are growing, so different & interesting!
    Love your garden structure/patio with the umbrella table and glass sculpture.
    Your perennial bed with your pretty house in the photo is so rich with variety and color.
    I enjoyed your little garden tour, so pretty!

  7. btucker9675 07/19/2022

    Fabulous gardens - front and back! Love that prairie coneflower and will look to see if i can mix it into my gardens. Thanks for sharing your beautiful spaces!

  8. JenniferDav 07/20/2022

    When fixing your garden, you need to clear first the space where you can plant your beautiful flowers and other plants. Check the expert tree services around San Jose for your Tree Service

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