Garden Photo of the Day

Gardening for Pollinators Without Sacrificing Beauty

Native plants steal the show

Today’s photos come from Harriet Robinson in Otisfield, Maine. She is sharing pictures of a great garden that shows that gardens built with native plants for pollinators can also be incredibly beautiful.

I was at the Fort Williams Children’s Garden for a garden club tour on Sept 12. It is planted with mostly native perennials, shrubs, and trees. The flowers were stunning, and the pollinators were active. Several species of butterflies (monarchs and painted ladies among them) fluttered about and landed on flowers, and the bumblebees were busy. The managed wildflowers and nativars did not look a bit weedy and were visually stunning planted to contrast with each other.

Aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, Zones 3–8), echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3–9), hyssop (Agastache foeniculum, Zones 4–8), and goldenrod (Solidago sp.)

Helianthus (perennial sunflower) and other native flowers

Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum, Zones 4–8) and echinacea

Mountain mint and Monarda (bee balm)

A newly emerged monarch butterfly on hyssop

Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ (Zones 3–8) highlighted by goldenrod

A play area with milkweed (Asclepias), Verbena hastata (Zones 3–8), lobelia (Lobelia cardinalis, Zones 3–9), and goldenrod

Smooth aster (Symphyotrichum laeve, Zones 3–8), hyssop, and echinacea

Sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina, Zones 2–6) in the foreground, with native shrubs and perennials

Wood aster (Eurybia divaricata, Zones 3–8) and bee balm


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View Comments


  1. garden1953 09/24/2019

    Fantastic! I love this garden and I'm sure the pollinators love you for creating it.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/24/2019

    How wonderful! Love it all.

  3. User avater
    user-7007816 09/24/2019

    I love the controlled wildness and all the pollinators.

  4. btucker9675 09/24/2019

    What a great garden - so natural and real. I've always preferred gardens that look like they could have just "happened" even though it takes planning and care to make them that way. Beautiful!

  5. cheryl_c 09/24/2019

    Harriet, thank you so much for taking and sharing these pictures of this fabulous public children's garden. Native plants are so amazing planted in drifts, and so few gardeners have the type of garden that allows that. These pictures are quite inspiring!

  6. User avater
    simplesue 09/24/2019

    Really interesting to see all of those natural native plants. I really loved the photo that showed the big view of all the plants with the path that happened to have the native yellow sunflowers on the right. What an amazing composition all those native plants make. Love the native Bee Balm aka Monarda en masse in these photos! Thanks for sharing!

  7. User avater
    RonaldTague 10/08/2019

    Amazing! article

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