Pollinator Garden on Lake Huron

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Today we visit Laura Pisco and her lake house garden on the eastern shore of Lake Huron in Ontario.

For over 10 years I have been cultivating a pollinator garden in zone 5. It’s an experiment, and I’m introducing a lot of native plants. It is also a monarch butterfly route, as it is on the migratory flight path for monarchs.

A king feeds on the nectar of a blooming panicle hydrangea. (Hydrangea punculata ‘Quickfire’, zones 3–8) before its long flight to Mexico.

Tall sunny garden with pink flowersA long bed of very flowering daylilies (Hemerocallis Hybrids, zones 4-9) border on wild indigo (Baptisia australis, Zones 3-9) and other perennials.

Swallowtail butterfly on a bright purple flowerA slurping sip from the purple cornflower (Centaura montana, zones 3–8).

Large and small purple flowers on a background of greenerySpectacular Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ (Allium hollandicum’purple feeling’, Zones 3-9) contrasted with a medley of plants: a variegated chartreuse hosta, Purple geraniums (Geranium × Magnificum, Zones 4-8), white Canadian anemone (Anemone canadensis, zones 3-8), and peonies (Peonia hybrids, zones 3–8) in background.

Planting light purple and yellow flowersIn fall, the lakeside gardens are dominated by native perennials, including black-eyed Susans (Rodbeckia fulgida, Zones 3–9) and a tall smooth blue aster (Symphyotrichum laeve, zones 3–8).

Small frog figurines on a large rock with purple flowers.I love frogs! These little guys are perched on top of the Dalmatian creeping bellflower. (Campanula portenschliagiana, Zones 4–8), sheltered under creeping Japanese willows. (Salix Integra, Zones 5-7).

Close-up of lady slipper orchidsI have several clumps of these wonderful native showy lady slipper orchids. (Cypripedium regale, zones 2–5). Bunches spreading in moist woodland soil.

Near the big pink peonyPeonies are another favorite – beautiful colors, shapes and scents!

Tall plants with large, uniquely shaped pink flowersExotic martagon lily (Lilium Martagon hybrids, zones 3-8) thrive in dappled shade. I am planting more of these, even though they are not native.

Close-up of Lollipop itoh peonyA beautiful Itoh peony ‘Lollipop’

A garden bed filled with ferns and other plantsA composition along the front entrance includes purple clematis. (Clematis hybrid, zones 4-9), blue hosta (the host hybrid, zones 3-9), panicle hydrangea, weigela (Weigela florida, zones 4-8), male ferns (Dryopteris filix-mas, zones 4–8).

Paths wind through the garden and lead to a lake.A view towards Lake Huron with a day bed in the foreground

Close up of deep pink peoniesThis beautiful Itoh peony reminds me of a red rose.

A woodland garden bed with ferns and pink flowersEarly summer border with geraniums, Canada columbine (Aquilegia canadiense, zones 3–8), diverse hosts, male ferns, and Canada anemones.

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