Garden Design

Washington State Pollinator 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!

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.

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