Create Your Own Pollinator Garden

Monarch butterfly

I started a pollinator garden and you can start one too! Starting a pollinator garden is a beneficial project for any homeowner. It will help to sustain our populations of more than 1,400 species of bees, butterflies and moths living here in wild Ohio.

What do you get in return for planting a pollinator garden? For starters, you’ll receive a warm feeling knowing that you’re assisting in the sustainability of the natural environment. It will also provide hours of enjoyment – observing the spectacle of a variety of creatures feeding on the nectar, especially on a sunny day!

How to Create a Pollinator Garden:

  • Select a sunny spot on your property. Consider a spot where you could place a couple of chairs out of the direct sunlight so you can read, relax and enjoy pollinators, of course.
  • Prepare the site by eliminating vegetation in the area, including grass. Vegetation removal is best done chemical-free. You can eliminate sunlight in this area with cover such as cloths, tarps, boards, sheets of siding or plywood, etc. In spring, it’s best to do this in March for a May planting, or August if you’re planting in autumn.
A bee pollinates a milkweed plant.
  • Spread seed or plant already-started plants. Plants can be pricey. Seed will give you the experience of looking at a variety of websites to see what suits your needs. (I actually bought one titled “milkweed madness!”)
  • The planting label for my seeds suggested covering them with a mulch. Mulch, consisting mostly of shredded wood and nutrients, can be purchased at any garden store. It’s a handsome cover and will disappear quickly. An alternative to mulch is using straw.
  • In order to keep your pollinator garden thriving, you have to maintain it. If you recognize non-desirable plants, pull them. You may want to consider purchasing a plant identifier app. They’re reasonably priced and are loads of fun. Seek by iNaturalist* is a free app where you take photos of plants and animals in order to identify them.

Often, mixes contain annuals to get you started and provide quick flower blooms the first year. But pollinator gardens are perennial and will last for years! Meaning you can help our local pollinators and improve the natural environment for years to come.

*Great Parks of Hamilton County is not affiliated with Seek, iNaturalist, the California Academy of Sciences or the National Geographic Society.

Eric King
Nature Interpreter, Parky’s Farm