There are some kinds of wildlife that you want to invite into your garden (looking at you, bees and butterflies) and some you want to stay as far away as possible (those pesky mosquitoes). While many people just leave critters up to chance, you can attract different types of wildlife by the stuff you plant in your garden. Big bonus: anything you plant is good for the bees. And we love bees because we love honey. And also, vegetables and fruit and flowers and everything else The Bee Movie taught us is made possible by bees (#savethebees).
Here’s how to encourage those insects and their flashy cousin, the butterfly, to come pay your garden a visit. And keep out the pests that you’d rather didn’t eat all your flowers.
The key to keeping things you don’t want in your garden out of it is planting stuff they have no interest in. To deter deer and rabbits, plant daisies (Shasta), bell flowers (campanula), black-eyed Susans, Asiatic lilies, lupine, catmint and globe thistle. These flowers grow well in most parts of Canada and don’t require a whole lot of intensive care (thank goodness!). A lot of them are wild too, so that means they aren’t too picky about where you plant them.
Butterflies just want to drink yummy nectar, so give them plants with flowers they like. Butterfly weed and butterfly bush are so beloved by those pretty insects that they’re named after them. The bush is actually a favourite for egg-laying too so you’ll get little caterpillars running around it and maybe even some chrysalises. If you want your yard to be butterfly HQ, plant yourself a butterfly bush. Other plants that can do the trick are speedwell, black-eyed Susan, globe thistle and beardtongue. You’ll notice that a few of these plants do double duty, repelling pests and attracting butterflies.
Ah, man’s second-best friend. Bees are pretty much just attracted to flowers in general, but there are some that they find particularly delicious. If you want to show some extra love to those black and yellow pollinators, try planting bee balm, clematis, honeysuckle or yucca. That last one is particularly good for cottage gardens and hot, sunny places.
So go forth and plant a wild, insect-friendly, pest-repelling garden that requires very little maintenance. Isn’t that every yard-owner’s dream?