When I started working at Gardener's Supply in the 1990s, my Vermont backyard was pretty green—with grass. Today, there's just a tiny bit of the original lawn left. Most of the available space has given way to trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and stonework. Watch a slideshow of my garden in Burlington, VT.
In addition to my work at Gardener's Supply, I work in the gardening division at Church Hill Landscapes. In that role, I maintain dozens of gardens and learn a lot in the process. I believe that all gardening is good gardening.
A raised bed for pollinators, growing in the Trough VegTrug. Illustrations by Carlie Hamilton
TO ATTRACT butterflies and other pollinators, simply plant flowers they love — lots of them. The designs here feature blooms that are rich in color and nectar, ensuring that you will welcome dozens of beneficial insects — especially butterflies.
Choose a site that gets sun all day, with easy access to water. The designs are modular; if you can't find a plant that's in my plan, consider a substitute that is the same size: S (small), M (medium), T (tall) and climbing (CL). You'll find all of the plants listed in the chart, Annual Plants for Pollinators, at the end of this article.
The bed here is designed to fit our 18" x 40" VegTrug™. Choose the Wallhugger or the Trough style. To create the trellis at the back, I used wire trellis grids , supported by bamboo poles, secured to the back of the trug.
The plants in this bed are listed below. For detailed descriptions — and more options, see Annual Plants for Pollinators.
A: Cardinal vine
B: Firecracker vine
E: Marguerite daisy
I: Blanket flower
It's easy to fill a 3x3 raised bed with pollinator-friendly plants. Here I've used the 4-in-1 Modular Raised Bed, but you can also do it in any 3x3 bed. The focal point is the Jardin Pot Trellis, which is about 4 feet high — a great size for the passionflower vine, and it fits the scale of the 3x3. If you choose the Cardinal Vine or the Firecracker Vine, use a larger trellis, such as a 5-foot teepee made of bamboo or the Essex Trellis. Morning glories are another great option for this design — just be sure to use a larger trellis.
C: Sweet alyssum
Compose your own planter, raised bed or windowbox by choosing from this list of pollinator-preferred plants.
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