In college I started getting into gardening and growing food. I learned how to can and found a true love of it all. When Ethan and I first got married we were renting and had zero garden space. I regularly joke that we bought our house not for the house, but the land. Our house is modest and meets our needs. We also have a flat, clear, half acre of land. It is more or less my dream come true all things considered.
In 2019 I had BIG plans for the 2020 gardens. And then, in December I found out I was pregnant and due at the beginning of August. It put a major damper on my garden plans. Instead of having 5 garden zones I had 3. It sounds like a lot, but the biggest garden zone, the food plot, got the axe. I would have a newborn during peak harvest season and there as no way I was going to manage processing and canning. Oh yes, and a Hobbit Home; still on my list.
We had 2 smaller, pre-edtablished zones: across the front of our porch, and along the side of our deck. 2 very manageable spaces, even for a pregnant lady. We created the 3rd zone: the butterfly garden.
I was inspired to do a pollinator garden when we first moved in. The previous owners had a TON of seedum, which is a favorite food source of most pollinators. We had a very busy garden. But we had no host plants. That means, we had the plants to feed butterflies, bees, etc, but no plants for the butterflies to lay their eggs and the caterpillars to eat. I spent hours researching, making lists, and planning.
We have a fairly large yard space between our house and property line hedges. There’s a tree about 3/4 of the way across. At the time we didn’t have a fence across that area and I thought the pollinator garden would be a great way to create a *nature boundary* for the tiny human. It was also out of the way and not in the middle of the main yard. I decided to put our garden there.
We cut out large sections of grass between the house and tree. We also have a great A-frame swing that I love. I placed it in the middle of the space with garden on either side.
I found out I was pregnant in November 2019, so I knew I needed to keep the pollinator garden as chill as possible. I did a ton of research and compiled my list of plants. I placed a seed order with Baker Creek and did an in person seed spree to Rohrer Seed. More or less every seed was direct sow, fairly shallow. I simpled tossed the seeds in the garden beds, did a gentle raking, and let nature go.
Well, nature threw a curve ball our way. Just as I was starting to see sprouts, we had a major storm roll through, and a flash flood- a once every few years, kind of flood, through our yard. It washed away about 90% of my sprouts and seeds. But here are a few of my favorite blooms.
I didn’t quite end up with the lush, thick blanketed garden I envisioned. Some plants did take really well! Bachelors Button, various cosmos, and even my herbs like fennel, parsley, and thyme. I ended up purchasing 2 milkweed plants that took well in their place.
I’d be lying if I didn’t also plant so many flowers in hopes of being able to put some bouquets together.
My dad works for a local garden supply company. One of the greenhouses he delivers at he picked up 2 butterfly bushes for me: a black knight and golden glow. They went on the other side of the house next to our deck. They did exceptionally well and were absolutely beautiful!
Between the actual pollinator garden and the butterfly bushes we did have a fairly busy garden, even if it didn’t totally look like I planned. Here are just a few of our visitors:
I would be remiss if I didn’t also include a shout-out to my partner gardener who was with me through it all, and had no qualms getting dirty and working hard:
Stay tuned for 2021 garden plans!