Pollinator Gardens

POLLINATOR GARDENS AT YOUR LIBRARY

The Innisfil ideaLAB & Library has pollinator gardens at the Lakeshore and Cookstown Branches. These gardens were planted to provide habitat for our pollinating insects and birds. They provide food from early spring to late fall, and include many host plants.

Most of the plants in our pollinator gardens are native plants. Not only are some of them host plants, but they are often more attractive to pollinators which have evolved alongside the plants. The ways in which the plants are more suited to pollinators varies. Sometimes the flowers are the exact right size for a bee to fit into and transfer pollen, they may bloom at the same time an insect emerges after the winter and provide their only source of food, or they may have a fragrance that mimics the natural chemicals emitted by an insect species and therefore attract them to the plant for pollination.

WHAT’S A HOST PLANT?

A host plant is a plant that is necessary for an animal to complete its life cycle, in many cases, as a food source. One of the most widely known examples of a host plant is milkweed, which is the only food source for the caterpillar stage of the Monarch Butterfly. We have lots of milkweed in our gardens, and both gardens are registered Monarch Waystations.

MONARCH BUTTERFLY REARING PROGRAM

The Library started raising Monarch Butterflies from eggs and caterpillars in 2019. We collect the eggs and caterpillars directly from the milkweed in our pollinator gardens. Visit our Monarch Butterfly Rearing page for more information.

HOW CAN YOU HELP OUR POLLINATORS?

Plant native plants! If you have any outdoor space where you live, you can help pollinators by planting native plants. Whether you have acres of land or a small balcony, you can help. This is the single most important thing you can do.

What else can you do?

  • Don’t use pesticides
  • Delay spring clean-up of your yard so chrysalids and eggs overwintering in the dead leaves have time to emerge (wait until it’s consistently 10 degrees Celsius during the day)
  • Become friendly with native insects – don’t assume all insects should be killed, learn who’s friendly and who’s invasive. Most insects are actually beneficial to our gardens.
  • Participate in No Mow May – leave dandelions to flower, they are often the only food source for insects because most neighbourhoods lack native plants
  • Don’t cut back or remove wild native plants, like milkweed
  • Plant a diverse garden – this helps to prevent pests from getting out of control, and provides food for a longer period of time
LEARN MORE

Find books available to borrow from your Library on these topics:

Pollinators and Pollinator Gardens
Monarch Butterflies

WEBSITES

iNaturalist: Look up plant and animal identifications and where to find themInstall the app on your phone to upload photos and get an i.d. Submit your own identifications for others to see.
Canadian Wildlife Federation Native Plant Encyclopedia: Information about native plants in Canada.
Pollinator Partnership: Eco-Regional Planting Guides: Find out what to plant in your garden to support pollinators.
Create a Pollinator Friendly Garden (David Suzuki Foundation): Ideas and tips on planting a pollinator garden.

PLANT LISTS: LAKESHORE BRANCH

NATIVE PLANTS

PLANTBENEFITS
Zizia (Golden Alexander) Attracts various pollinating insects. Host plant for: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly   
Milkweed – Ice Ballet  A varietal of Swamp Milkweed, with white flowers Attracts various pollinating insects. Host plant for Monarch butterfly, a species of special concern in Ontario.   
Milkweed – Swamp
Grows wild in Innisfil. See our Milkweed Identification Guide.}

Attracts various pollinating insects. Host plant for Monarch butterfly, a species of special concern in Ontario.  
Milkweed – Common Grows wild throughout Innisfil. See our Milkweed Identification Guide.Attracts various pollinators including hummingbirds. Host plant for Monarch butterfly, a species of special concern in Ontario.  
Milkweed – Butterfly Weed/Orange Milkweed  Attracts various pollinators including hummingbirds. Host plant for Monarch butterfly, a species of special concern in Ontario. 
   
Obedient Plant/False Dragonhead
Attracts various pollinators, including hummingbirds.  
Flat Topped White Aster Attracts various pollinators. Host plant for: Harris Checkerspot Butterfly and Pearl Crescent butterflies. 
Eastern Wild Columbine  Attracts various pollinators, including hummingbirds. Host plant for: Columbine Duskywing butterfly and Columbine Borer moth.   


Joe Pye Weed

Attracts various pollinators. 
White Turtlehead Attracts various pollinators. Host plant for: Red Admiral Butterfly, Eastern Comma Butterfly and Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly.  
Blue Stemmed Goldenrod Attracts pollinators and birds.   
Gray-headed Coneflower Attracts pollinators and birds. 
Purple Coneflower

 
Attracts pollinators and birds. Host plant for: Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly and Wavy-lined Emerald Moth. 
Native Bee Balm Attracts various pollinators, including hummingbirds.   
Narrowleaf Evening Primrose/Sundrops   Attracts pollinators.
Genus of plant is the only food source for the Evening Primrose Sweat Bee, a native insect to Ontario with a conservation status of “Vulnerable” .
Host plant for Primrose Moth.
 
Blue False Indigo Host plant for: Wild Indigo Duskywing Butterfly, Easter Tailed Blue Butterfly, Orange Sulphur Butterfly, Clouded Sulphur Butterfly, Frosted Elphin Butterfly   and Hoary Edge Butterfly  
Canadian Serviceberry Tree   Attracts insects in spring, and birds and mammals with it’s fruit. 

NON-NATIVE PLANTS

  • Carpenter’s Square/Figwort
  • Persian Coneflower
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Lilac (Korean)
  • Weigela
  • Hydrangea (“Vanilla Strawberry”)
PLANT LISTS: COOKSTOWN BRANCH

NATIVE PLANTS

PLANTBENEFITSPHOTO
Black-eyed Susan Attracts various pollinators and birds. Host plant for: Painted Lady Butterfly Gorgone Checkerspot Butterfly and Bordered Patch Butterfly. 
Blanket flower (yellow) Attracts pollinators. Host plants for various moths of the schinia genua.   
Foxglove beardtongue Attracts various pollinators, including hummingbirds. Host plant for: Chalcedony Midget Moth. 
Milkweed – Butterfly Weed/Orange Milkweed  Attracts various pollinators including hummingbirds. Host plant for Monarch butterfly, a species of special concern in Ontario.
Milkweed – Common Grows wild throughout Innisfil. See our Milkweed Identification Guide.Attracts various pollinators including hummingbirds. Host plant for Monarch butterfly, a species of special concern in Ontario.
Milkweed – Ice Ballet  A varietal of Swamp Milkweed, with white flowers Attracts various pollinating insects. Host plant for Monarch butterfly, a species of special concern in Ontario.  
Milkweed – Swamp
Grows wild in Innisfil. See our Milkweed Identification Guide.}
Attracts various pollinating insects. Host plant for Monarch butterfly, a species of special concern in Ontario.
Milkweed – Whorled    Attracts various pollinating insects Host plant for Monarch butterfly, a species of special concern in Ontario.  
Native Bee BalmAttracts various pollinators, including hummingbirds.
Purple ConeflowerAttracts pollinators and birds. Host plant for: Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly and Wavy-lined Emerald Moth.
Zizia (Golden Alexander)Attracts various pollinating insects. Host plant for: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly  

NON-NATIVE PLANTS

  • Butterfly Bush
  • Lilac (Korean)
  • Verbena (“Brandywine”)
  • Hydrangea (“Limelight”)
  • Deutzia (“Chardonnay Pearls”)
  • Delphinium (white)
  • Sedum (“Autumn Joy”)
  • Speedwell (“Georgia Blue”)