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A Pollinator Garden on Lake Huron


Today we’re visiting with Laura Pisko and her lake-house garden on the east shore of Lake Huron in Ontario.

For 10 years I have been developing a pollinator garden in Zone 5. It’s an experiment, amd I have been introducing many native plants. It’s also a monarch butterfly waystation, as it is on the migratory flight path for monarchs.

monarch butterfly on a white hydrangea flowerA monarch fuels up on the nectar of a blooming panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Quickfire’, Zones 3–8) prior to its long flight to Mexico.

long sunny garden bed with pink flowersA long bed of very floriferous daylilies (Hemerocallis hybrids, Zones 4–9) fronts wild indigo (Baptisia australis, Zones 3–9) and other perennials.

swallowtail butterfly on a bright purple flowerA swallowtail sips from a purple cornflower (Centaurea montana, Zones 3–8).

large and small purple flowers backdropped by greeneryThe stately allium ‘Purple Sensation’ (Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’, Zones 3–9) contrasts with a foliage medley: a variegated chartreuse Hosta, purple geraniums (Geranium × magnificum, Zones 4–8), white Canadian anemone (Anemone canadensis, Zones 3–8), and peonies (Paeonia hybrids, Zones 3–8) in the background.

planting of light purple and yellow flowersIn the fall, native perennials predominate in the lakeside gardens, including black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida, Zones 3–9) and a tall smooth blue aster (Symphyotrichum laeve, Zones 3–8).

small frog statues on a large rock beside purple flowersI love frogs! These little guys are perched above Dalmatian creeping bellflower (Campanula portenschliagiana, Zones 4–8), sheltered under a dappled Japanese willow (Salix integra, Zones 5–7).

close up of lady slipper orchidsI have several clumps of these stunning native showy lady slipper orchids (Cypripedium regale, Zones 2–5). The clumps are expanding in the moist woodland soil.

close up of large pink peonyPeonies are another favorite—gorgeous colors, forms, and scent!

tall plants with large, uniquely shaped pink flowersExotic martagon lilies (Lilium martagon hybrids, Zones 3–8) thrive in dappled shade. I have been planting more of these, although they are not native.

close up of Lollipop itoh peonyA beautiful Itoh peony ‘Lollipop’

garden bed full of ferns and other foliage plantsA composition beside the front entrance includes purple clematis (Clematis hybrid, Zones 4–9), blue hostas (Hosta hybrid, Zones 3–9), panicle hydrangea, weigela (Weigela florida, Zones 4–8), male ferns (Dryopteris filix-mas, Zone 4–8).

paths winding through the garden and leading to a lakeA view toward Lake Huron with the daylily bed in the foreground

close up of dark pink peoniesThis gorgeous Itoh peony reminds me of red roses.

woodland garden bed with ferns and pink flowersEarly summer border with geraniums, Canada columbine (Aquilegia canadiense, Zones 3–8), variegated hostas, male ferns, and Canada anemone.

 

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