Check out these links:

Awesome Native Plants list from the amazing Paul O'Hara. Please do not reproduce or remove any part of this without Paul's permission.

Check out Pollinator Guelph's amazing resources for getting your pollinator garden growing:!downloads/c1c9n

Thanks to Bev Wagar for this information. Wagar is relatively new to the Hamilton (Crownpoint) community but is no stranger to the art of growing native pollinator plants. She writes a regular column for The Point (Crownpoint's community paper). Check out her website.

Flowers for Pollinators

Choose old-fashioned, single (not double), unimproved varieties. Many newer cultivars have been bred to be low in pollen, or to have ornamental features that make it difficult for bees to find a landing spot. Choose plain, old-fashioned, colours; avoid bi-colours and novelty colours.

Make sure you have a variety of flowers blooming from early season through to frost. Early spring is very important-- bees emerge from their nests and are desperate for food. Leave the first spring dandelions, clover, and lawn violets for the bees.
If you are growing perennials, of course you should not rototill.

Choose carefully. Some perennials such as Borage, Poppies, Great Blue Lobelia, are extreme self-sowers. Borage, for example, is a nectar-producing powerhouse but is nearly impossible to eradicate once introduced. If you cannot recognize the seedlings of these plants, or you do not plan to shear, deadhead, rogue out the volunteers at least once a week, then do not plant anything with “pest” potential.
Consider the mature size of your plants. A four-foot phlox will cast deep shade on your-- or your neighbours'-- veggies.
Alllow some of your herbs to bloom for the bees. Basil, Thyme, Parsley, Oregano, and Sage will all be enjoyed by bees.

Many of the annuals are easy from seed. Check out seed swap groups on GardenWeb or FaceBook, or organize a February group order from your favourite seed house.

In my garden the top three bee choices are Agastache, Nepeta, and Blue Lobelia.
- Bev Wagar

Early bloom
Mid-Season bloom
Late bloom
Winter aconite (Eranthis/Winter aconite Muscari /Grape hyacinth Scilla /Siberian squill Calendula
Poppies, esp. Somniforum Cosmos
Nigella * Centaura/cornflower Scabiosa/ Pincushion flower
Verbena Bonariensis
Giant / Drumstick Allium Digitalis/Foxglove Crocus
Doronicum / Leopard's Bane

Clover Veronica
Great Blue Lobelia* Echinacea/Coneflower Echinops/Globe Thistle * Garden Phlox Bergamot/Bee Balm Thyme
Allium Asclepias/milkweed

Fall Sedums
Aster Solidago/Goldenrod* Eupatorium/ Joe Pye
* extreme self-seeder or thug potential. Use with caution.


Stefan Weber (St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre) offers his favourite plants:

  • Virginia Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum)
  • Prairie Dock (Silphium terebinithaceum)
  • Hairy Beard-tongue (Penstemon hirsutus)
  • Evening Primrose (Oenother biennis)
  • Shadbush serviceberry (Amelanchier sanguinea)
  • Wild Plum (Prunus Americana)
  • Pin Cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)
  • Hairy Bushclover (Lespedeza hirta)
  • Great St. John's Wort (Hypericum ascyron)
  • Dwarf Blazing Star (Liatris cylindracea)
  • Azure Aster (Symphiotrichum oolentagiense)
  • Prairie Goldenrod (Solidago ptarmicoides)
  • Stiff Goldenrod (Solidago rigida)
  • Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)
  • Sullivant's Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii)
  • Woodland Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

Thanks to Paul O'Hara, of Blue Oak Native Landscapes, the man behind the garden!

Below is a list of the plants that were planted in the new Victoria Park Butterfly Garden in August 2015.  All the plants are native to Southern Ontario except where indicated. 

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
One tree planted near walkway.  A tough oak found in a variety of habitats in Southern Ontario, particularly clay plains.  The best way to help local insects is to plant a native oak on your property as they support a greater variety of species than any other native plant.
Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
One tree in north corner near fence.  Our native juniper.  Excellent tree for nesting birds.  Gin-flavoured berries eaten by a variety of birds.  Found in meadows and thickets around Hamilton.  Many trees can be viewed on the 403 corridor through Aldershot.
Small Trees/Large Shrubs
Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
One tree planted in middle of garden by fence.  An excellent small tree for any garden.  Flowers and berries have high wildlife value for birds and pollinators.  A common understory tree in local forests.
Witch-hazel (Hammamelis virginiana)
One shrub planted by Bur Oak.  Fall flowering.  A common understory shrub in local upland woods.
Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)
4 planted in southeast part of garden.  White flowers in early spring a favourite of early emerging insects.  Serviceberries are common shrubs/trees on dry rims and woodland edges in Hamilton.
WAYFARING VIBURNUM (Viburnum lantana)
The large existing shrubs leftover from the last butterfly garden.  A non-native shrub that I infrequently find spreading into native habitats.  Not recommended for planting.  Native to Europe.
Gray Dogwood (Cornus foemina)
One shrub in north end of garden by walkway.  Probably the most common roadside shrub of meadows, thickets and woodland edges in the Hamilton area.  Look for their white vanilla scented flowers around Canada Day and their maroon foliage in fall. 
Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica)
A few shrubs planted in garden edges.  A tough, drought tolerant native shrub that grows in a few spots on the Flamborough Plain in Hamilton and at Sassafras Woods in Aldershot. 
Purple Flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus)
One shrub planted in middle of garden beside Pagoda Dogwood. Purple flowers in summer.  A common shrub in local moist woodlands. 

Carolina Rose (Rosa carolina)
4 planted.  Pink flowers in summer, great shrub for bees and butterlies.  Found in dry open woodlands and thickets.  Plant this native rose in your garden, and not the commonly planted non-native Rugosa Roses. 
Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)
3 or 4 planted in marginal areas, the same native shrub planted along the fence of the community gardens.  A suckering shrub of dry woodlands.  Can be found growing on many of the hills around Cootes. 
Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
1 planted.  White flowers in summer, sought after by pollinators.  Commonly seen along creeks and rivers in the wild.
Shrubby St. John’s Wort (Hypericum prolificum)
23 shrubs planted in clusters throughout the garden, a low rounded shrub with yellow flowers relished by pollinators.  Very rare in Ontario, Kalm’s St. John’s Wort is the more commonly encountered one in Ontario.
CALGARY CARPET (Juniperus sabina ‘Calgary Carpet’)
A reliable low growing juniper planted for winter interest and to help define the pathways.  A dozen or so planted.  Not native to Ontario; origins European and Asian.
ANDERSON YEW (Taxus x media ‘Andersonii’)
1 planted beside Pagoda Dogwood.  Again, planted for winter interest.  Not native to Ontario, Asian in origin.
TRUMPET HONEYSUCKLE (Lonicera sempervirens)
3 planted along the fence, attracts hummingbirds.  Not native to Ontario but pretty close (Eastern U.S.).
Spring Flowering Perennials
Hairy Beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus)
Blue flowered, planted in perennial borders.  Found in meadows on rocky soils in the Hamilton area. 
False Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
A few pots planted under woody plants for increased shade.  A common woodland perennial. 
Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)
A dozen or more planted in shadier areas.  The pink flowered Geranium found in our local woodlands. 
Pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta)
Several planted around the garden.  Host plant for the Painted Lady Butterfly.  Found in dry open woodlands.  
Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
A few planted in shady areas.  Our native red-flowered Columbine.  Fairly common in local woodlands. 
Moss Phlox (Phlox subulata)
Groundcover planted on garden edges.  Native populations are rare in dry sandy woods in the Head of the Lake area. 
Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea)
A few planted under Serviceberries.  Pale yellow flowers in spring.  Rare in moist meadows and woods.
Summer Flowering Perennials
Waxy Meadow Rue (Thalictrum revolutum)
One planted near asphalt path.  A rare perennial native to Norfolk County. 
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Several planted around the garden.  Common in local meadows. 
Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
A couple planted in sunny perennial borders.  This is our native coneflower; an extremely rare perennial found only in Elgin Cty. 
Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
One planted along fence.  Common in local meadows. 
Cylindric Blazing-star (Liatris cylindracea)
A few planted in sunny areas.  A small Liatris species that used to occur in the historical prairies of Hamilton Region.  Rare in Southern Ontario prairie remnants. 
Joe-pye Weeds (Eupatorium maculatum)
A couple planted along fence.  Pink flowers feed a variety of pollinators including Monarchs.  Common in wet meadows and ditches. 
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
One planted.  Pink flowers feed many pollinators.  Host plant for Monarch caterpillars.  Common in wet meadows.
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
A few planted in perennial borders.  Dull pink flowers.  Host plant for Monarch caterpillars.  Common in roadside meadows. 
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
A few planted in perennial borders.  Orange flowered.  Host plant for Monarch caterpillars.  Uncommon in sandy meadows and prairie remnants.   
Bee-balm (Monarda didyma)
One planted near fence under Pagoda Dogwood.  Red flowered.  Very uncommon in rich floodplains. 
Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
Several planted in low perennials borders.  Blue flowers with delicate foliage.  Uncommon in open oak woodlands in Hamilton. 
Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta)
One planted.  Purple flowered.  Found in dry, sandy prairies and meadows in Southern Ontario.
Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum)
A few planted by asphalt walkway.  Pink flowers.  Native to Pelee Island and areas south. 
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
One planted along fence.  White flowered.  Found in wet meadows and ditches. 
Missouri Ironweed (Vernonia missurica)
One planted near asphalt walkway.  Majenta flowers.  Found in southwestern Ontario prairie remnants. 
Spikenard (Aralia racemosa)
One planted under Bur Oak.  Small white flowers in summer that attract an incredible array of pollinators.  Red berries feed birds.  Native to wetland habitats in the Hamilton area. 
Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa)
Planted a pad near the rock in the north end of the garden.  Very rare along Lake Erie beaches in southwestern Ontario. 
Early Goldenrod (Solidago juncea)
A couple planted in perennial borders.  Flowers in summer unlike other goldenrods which flower in fall, hence the name.  Uncommon in local meadows.  
Fall Flowering Perennials
Heart-leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium)
A few planted in perennial borders.  Light blue flowers in early fall.  Common in the woodlands of Hamilton. 

Asters and goldenrods are critical food plants for migrating Monarch Butterflies and bees preparing for winter.  No garden should be without them.
Smooth Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve)
A couple planted in perennial borders.  Blue flowers.  Common in local meadows, particularly on clay soils. 
Blue-stemmed Goldenrod (Solidago caesia)
Several planted in shadier areas.  Arching blue coloured stems.  Yellow-flowers.  An excellent garden plant for part sun and shade.  Common in local woodlands. 
Zig-zag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis)
A few planted in shadier areas.  Yellow-flowers.  Another excellent garden plant for part sun and shade.  Common in local woodlands. 
Ohio Goldenrod (Solidago ohioensis)
One planted along fence.  Yellow flowers.  Rare in fens and wet prairies in Southern Ontario. 
Rough-leaved Goldenrod (Solidago patula)
One planted along fence.  Yellow flowers.  Uncommon in swamps and seepage areas in the Hamilton area. 
Grasses and Sedges
Switchgrass ‘Shenandoah’ (Panicum virgatum)
One planted near asphalt walkway.  A tall grass with airy seed heads.  Native to prairie remnants in Southern Ontario.
Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepsis)
The dominant grass planted in the garden.  Knee-high clump forming grass.  Very rare in prairie remnants in Southern Ontario. 
Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
Half a dozen or so planted along perennial boder near fence.  Knee-high grass with blue foliage in summer.  Native to prairie remnants in Hamilton Region. 
Black-fruited Sedge (Carex eburnea)
About 10 planted in garden borders.  Neon-green foliage.  A rare groundcover sedge that grows on dry slopes under White Cedar.