Garden Photo of the Day

Washington State Pollinator Garden

Beauty and habitat combined

bird feeder in a pollinator-friendly garden

Today’s photos are from James Mahar.

We own 21.5 acres in Washington State dedicated to wildlife, including a 20,000-square-foot spot specifically for pollinators. Here are a few photos.

garden full of plants with pink flowersThis area is packed with flowers that pollinators love. You don’t have to choose between a garden that is beautiful and one that is good for pollinators, because humans and bees both tend to like the same thing: lots of flowers!

garden pond surrounded by plantsHuge masses of black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida, Zones 4–9) back up this garden pond. Water features are not just beautiful but are also great for wildlife. Bees in particular will appreciate the low rocks at the edge, which allow them to safely access the water to drink.

bird feeder in a pollinator-friendly gardenThis part of the garden is filled with flowers in shades of pink and purple, including lots of bee balm (Monarda species and hybrids, Zones 4–9). Newer selections of bee balm tend to be shorter and more compact, making them easier to use in many gardens, but they are still topped with abundant flowers for pollinators.

garden bed next to a drivewayNo pollinator garden is complete without a patch of milkweed (Asclepias syriaca, Zones 3–9), which is of course the critical host plant for monarch butterflies. Common milkweed can spread aggressively in small gardens, so planting it as it is here at the edge of a driveway or path can help keep it contained.

garden with many conifers in the backgroundTall conifers make a wonderful backdrop for the garden, turning it into a little enclosed paradise.

garden full of perennials with wooden fencePlanning for a long period of bloom helps keep a wide range of pollinators fed. Here the black-eyed Susan is in peak bloom; in front of it, a mass of sedum (Sedum ‘Autumn ‘Joy’, Zones 3–9) is covered with flower buds, ready to burst into bloom and keep the pollinator party going.

sunflower surrounded by pink flowersJoe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum, Zones 4–9) and a huge sunflower (Helianthus annuus, annual) provide height, drama, and lots of food for pollinators.

patio table looking out over gardenI wish I could sit in that chair and just soak up this beautiful garden!


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View Comments


  1. garden1953 09/13/2021

    Incredibly beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  2. User avater
    user-7007816 09/13/2021

    A beautiful garden for both bees and people. Thanks for also sharing it with us.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/13/2021

    Oh, my, how very lovely!

  4. btucker9675 09/13/2021

    Wow, just wow!!! Incredible spaces and a perfect way to start the week. Thanks for sharing.

  5. margotnavarre 09/13/2021

    Yes, perfect way to start the week was very well stated from the last comment. What part of Washington state do you live and what kind of animals visit your beautiful garden?

  6. Jay_Sifford 09/13/2021

    Your garden is really beautiful. So many pollinator gardens are not. Thanks for sharing your space with the pollinators and with us.

  7. User avater
    simplesue 09/13/2021

    Wow! Actually WOW!!!!! Your perennial beds are perfect!
    Beautiful combinations, everything is so healthy!
    Oh and that nice natural water garden and the Milkweed area!
    I just love what you've created!
    Oh that beautiful stone patio!
    A little paradise!

  8. coastalgardener 09/13/2021

    What an outstanding garden, and your photos of it are lovely. So glad you shared this with us.

  9. [email protected] 09/13/2021

    I also am wondering where in Washington state your garden is located. I'm really wishing it would be featured on some Open Garden Days tours! Also wondering if you have a deer problem, or is there is unseen fencing. It's really a beautiful garden, and thanks for the gorgeous pictorial tour!

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