How to Make a Pocket Pollinator Garden

2 Materials
2 Hours

A "pocket" pollinator garden is one of the best ways to bring color and beauty to your yard while also helping wildlife. You just need a tiny space to add some beneficial plants that can do wonders for your happiness, along with survival for bees and butterflies.

What is a Pocket Pollinator Garden?

Wondering what a pocket pollinator garden is? It’s a tiny amount of space dedicated to plants that help bees and butterflies survive and thrive.

You might have heard about butterfly gardens or bee friendly gardens but don’t have enough time – or space – to do something that you feel will make a difference.

Let me tell you, all it takes is a few plants and you can make the world a better place!

I used to live in a house that had a sprawling backyard that I packed with tons of plants for wildlife. I always enjoyed walking the yard to enjoy all of the flowers. It was my happy place and a sense of calm and peacefulness.

So as I’ve moved from that huge sunny yard to smaller yards with not nearly as much room, I’ve worried about even trying to do anything at all. After all, would a small effort make any difference?

As it turns out, YES!!!!

Picking the Best Plants

I prefer to get plants that are perennials. That way, I only need to dig in the garden once to plant. Yet the flowering blooms will come back year after year with no effort on my part.

You want to buy a sturdy, strong plant that will last more than a month or two. Trust me. Your time is worth a lot. Having to replace plants takes way too much time in your life.

I love that the plants that I chose are perennials, too.

What is a perennial? It means that the plants will come back year after year, blooming when they are in season.

I also paid careful attention to the plant tags.

I’ve got to consider frost and cold temperatures so that my plants wouldn't die in a cold winter. I definitely checked the cold hardiness temperatures.

I was delighted to find that most of the plants that I purchased had ratings down to -10 degrees or less.

Plants I Bought

I bought seven plants. They included:

  • Salvia
  • Phlox (blue flowers above)
  • Euphorbia
  • Yarrow

This is the yarrow that I got. I think it's beautiful!

Creating the Pocket Pollinator Garden

I don’t have a lot of space to plant now. However, we do have a vegetable garden raised bed. It’s the perfect place to add a pocket pollinator garden.

So we devoted a small space in our square foot garden to be plants that are full of beautiful blooms in Spring, well before the veggies start growing.

Consider using shredded leaf mulch ( here's how to easily make shredded leaf mulch that's free!) around new plants to help enrich the soil and protect the new plants from weeds.

Instantly – INSTANTLY! – the bumble bees found the plants. I’m talking like in 5 minutes of putting them in our garden. It was crazy!

The pollinators were so thankful, too. It’s like they honed in on the only pollination plants available for miles around them.

This is the salvia that I planted.

It was such a joy to see color and life back in the garden so quickly!

A pollinator garden that’s bee friendly and/or butterfly friendly doesn’t always have to be in the ground.

As long as the plants are there, the bees and butterflies don’t care how you’ve planted them or how much time it took.

If you can't physically dig in the garden, or you just don't have space, put plants in flower pots where you can.

Nestling the plants in pots going up the porch stairs was absolutely gorgeous, too!

If I had bright colored pots, it would have been amazing.

If I had chosen to add plants in containers, I would have used my gardening hack to turn trash cans into large flower planters.

You can watch my video above to see how easy it is!

Our pocket pollinator garden has multiple benefits:

  • It adds beauty to the landscape NOW. That goes a long way in bringing happiness (read about flowers’ health benefits).
  • Pollinator plants help encourage fertilizing the plants in our garden.
  • The color of the flowers is a nice addition to the mass of green from a produce garden.
  • The size is manageable, so I’m not losing much space, but gaining a lot of rewards.

Resources for this project:

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Kimberly Button
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Join the conversation

  • Carolyn Carolyn on Jun 11, 2021

    Thanks for the info!! Very important to help out our pollinators!! Looks lovely!!

  • Mary Russell Mary Russell on Jun 11, 2021

    I would love to get perennials that bloom a lot like those flowers,Our roses have been doing very good,and I hope to plant more,but it has gotten down to minus 30 below zero here and it seems the nurserys just dont stock many plants hearty enough.My plan is to try finding the seed I need and grow my own.I'getting up in years and would love to be able to buy fine healthy plants that were perennials and cold hardy at least down to minus 30 below.