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How to Attract Birds, Bees and Butterflies To Your Garden

Posted on April 12, 2022 
by Thomas VanAmerongen

It’s no secret that we love naturalized landscapes here at Raymar — they’re eco-friendly, support native plant species, and invite the three “b’s” into your garden (birds, bees and butterflies).

But you can attract these pollinators into your garden regardless of the type of landscape design style you prefer — it can be as simple as knowing which plants to choose.

Lush Garden

Plant a garden for your feathered friends

When you plant trees and shrubs in your yard, you’re giving birds a place to nest, shelter from weather and predators and a variety of insects to munch on — but if you want to make them really happy, plant some that bear fruit, seeds or nuts! Here are just a few:

– Chokecherry: The chokecherry can be grown as a small shrub or trained to be a small tree. They have long clusters of white flowers with yellow centres that turn into small berries once pollinated by bees and butterflies. They are toxic… so don’t plant them if you have pets that like to nibble on foliage.

– Mock orange: The fragrant blossoms of the mock orange attract all sorts of pollinators, including hummingbirds! And once the flowers are spent, birds like thrushes, chickadees and finches dine on the seeds.

– Flowering dogwood: Although these plants can self-pollinate, they still attract their fair share of pollinators. It’s an extremely ornamental bush, with beautiful flowers in the spring and berries in the fall, and is a favourite of robins, thrushes, cardinals and bluebirds.

To provide shelter for birds, include hedgerows and thickets (densely planted trees and shrubs) in your landscape design. Layer your plantings to provide “vertical diversity” (vines climbing up trees, shrubs in front of trees and flowers in front of shrubs).

You can also install birdhouses, birdfeeders (cautionary tale: don’t put a birdfeeder over your perennial garden!) and birdbaths.

Invite bees to your garden

Planting flowers is one of the best (and most beautiful!) ways to help support the bee population — and when you choose native wildflowers, your garden will also be beautiful and easy to maintain. Planting native species also reduces (or eliminates) the need for harmful pesticides.

Here are a few of our favourites:

– Rudbeckia: Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susans) are cheerful plants that brighten up the garden. Bees enjoy the nectar and birds feast on the ripe seeds. Be careful where you plant them, though. They have a tendency to take over if there’s not enough competition from other species.

– Woodland sunflower: These yellow beauties bloom from early summer to fall and look beautiful in naturalized settings and shaded borders. Bees and butterflies are attracted to them, and birds like to eat the seeds directly from the seedheads.

– Coneflower: These hardy, easy-to-grow plants bloom from late spring to late summer (and sometimes even to frost!), providing bees and other pollinators with a steady and reliable source of food all season long.

It’s best if you plant a wide variety of flowering plants that bloom throughout the growing season. Plant in large clumps — large displays look beautiful in perennial gardens and make the flowers easier for pollinators to see.

Consider a butterfly garden

Butterflies need host plants where female butterflies lay their eggs and flowering plants for nourishment. They are attracted to plants that have clusters of tiny flowers, including herbs like sage and thyme.

Here are some plants that are perfect if you want to attract butterflies to your yard.

– Swamp milkweed: Yes, milkweed. This is the only plant where the monarch butterfly will lay her eggs because it provides the perfect food for the emerging caterpillars. Other larval “host” plants include asters and birch.

– Wild columbine: These hardy plants look like hanging lanterns and provide nectar in early spring to hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. It looks great tucked among rock gardens and backyard ponds.

– Evening primrose: This upright biennial (biennials have a two-year growth cycle) has lemon-yellow flowers that open at night — with most pollination being done by nocturnal pollinators such as moths.

Designing an eco-friendly landscape that attracts wildlife is extremely rewarding — you help preserve our native species (plants as well as pollinators) while experiencing nature first-hand.

Create your own pollinator-friendly garden

At Raymar Landscapes, we specialize in creating eco-friendly, naturalized landscapes that attract all sorts of wildlife, including birds, bees and butterflies. By providing them with the habitat they need, we protect these pollinators — and we get the benefit of watching them flit happily about our yards.

If you’d like some help designing your landscape to provide a habitat for wildlife, give us a call or fill out this form to get started.