Gardening 101~ How-to Create a beautiful Cottage Style Pollinator Garden with Both Annuals & Perennials!

“From plants that wake when others sleep, from timid jasmine buds that keep their odor to themselves all day, but when the sunlight dies away let the delicious secret out to every breeze that roams about. ” Thomas Moore

Over the years I’ve shown  you oodles of photo’s of my gardens, and have always stressed my love of the cottage garden. That love has not waned once over the years. I have always been fascinated with the charm of a cottage garden. And what better way to create a stunning cottage garden than by incorporating pollinator-friendly plants in it? 

In today’s blog post, I’ll start by walking you through the steps to create a beautiful cottage style pollinator garden with both annuals and perennials.

But before we get rolling, be sure to SUBSCIBE below so you don’t miss an episode!

Cottage Style Pollinator Gardens

One of the main reasons I’ve always been drawn to the cottage garden is its informal and relaxed appearance, along with a mix of colorful flowers and foliage plants. These gardens are often associated with old-world charm, and the inclusion of pollinator-friendly plants can make them even more appealing.

Pollinator gardens are designed to attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other beneficial insects, which help in pollinating plants, ensuring a bountiful harvest, and keeping the ecosystem in balance.

Let’s Look at the Importance of Pollinator Gardens

Pollinator gardens are essential for supporting the health and survival of our planet’s ecosystem. According to the Pollinator Partnership, pollinators are responsible for over 75% of the world’s food crops, and without them, our food supply would be severely impacted.

Pollinators are also crucial for maintaining the biodiversity of our planet, as they help in the reproduction of plants, which in turn provide food, shelter, and habitat for other wildlife.

What are the Benefits of Using Both Annuals and Perennials in Your Garden?

Annuals and perennials are two types of plants that can be used in pollinator gardens. Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle in one growing season, where perennials come back year after year. It’s beneficial to incorporate both as annuals usually fill in with blooms in between the bloom cycles of your perennials.

Using a mix of both annuals and perennials in your garden can provide several benefits. Annuals bloom all season long, providing a continuous source of nectar and pollen for pollinators. Perennials, on the other hand, provide a more stable source of food and habitat for pollinators.

Let’s Design Your Cottage Style Pollinator Garden!

Designing a cottage style pollinator garden is all about creating an informal, relaxed atmosphere. You can achieve this by incorporating a mix of plants with different heights, textures, and colors.

To create a natural-looking garden, you can plant in irregular groups or drifts, rather than in straight rows. You can also include features such as a birdbath or a small pond to attract birds and other wildlife.  I love to use garden art in my gardens. I even have an antique lightning rod!

Consider these factors as well:

  • Is your garden up against a wall or does it have a backdrop? If so, you want to be sure to have your taller plants placed in the rear, cascading downward in height as you move towards the front of your garden.
  • Is your garden located in an area where it can be walked around on all sides? If so, you will want the tallest plants placed in the center, then cascading downward to the edges.

Selecting the Right Plants for Your Garden

When selecting plants for your garden, it’s essential to choose varieties native to your region. Native plants are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, making them more resilient and less reliant on fertilizers and pesticides.

Some excellent choices for a cottage style pollinator garden include lupines, foxglove, hollyhocks, peonies, coneflowers, black-eyed susans, bee balm, and milkweed. These plants are attractive to a wide variety of pollinators and are relatively easy to grow.

Be sure to check out my Podcast with Tim Travis, Owner of Goldner Walsh Garden and Home as we discuss the importance of native habitats and pollinator gardens! You watch it below right here on my YouTube Channel!

Let’s Create the Garden Plan Now!

Before planting your garden, it is essential to create a planting plan. This plan should take into account the size and shape of your garden, the location of existing plants and features, and the sun and soil conditions.

If it’s a brand new garden spot, then you’ll still need to design this in order to utilize your space and be sure not to over plant. I recommend if this is a new garden you fill in the empty spaces with annuals so it looks full and beautiful. The perennials will fill in the following year.

Start by drawing a rough sketch of your garden, including any existing plants or features. Then, decide on the placement of your pollinator-friendly plants, considering factors such as height, texture, and color.

Once you have a rough plan in place, you can refine it by selecting specific varieties of plants and determining the number of plants needed for each area

Another factor is if you are partial to particular colors. I personally prefer pinks, purples, blues, and whites. I tend to be drawn to plants in those colors. Use what makes you happy and fits into the scheme of things for your gardens.

Some Final Tips for a Successful Pollinator Garden!

Remember to choose plants that are native to your region, create a planting plan, and care for your garden regularly. And most importantly, have fun and enjoy the beauty and diversity of your garden!

Here are some of my favorite flowers to incorporate for pollinator gardening. Take into consideration I am a cottage gardener, so these flowers are well suited to that style. This is by far not an exhaustive list, more so a list of mine & Tim’s personal faves! Pollinator’s aren’t just for bees, I grow some of these specifically for my little feathered friends. Also, my garden themes generally incorporate purples, pinks, blues, and white. I don’t use very many red, and I don’t really include orange or yellow with the exception of Black Eyed Susan’s. 

Annuals include:

  1. Cosmos
  2. Mexican Sunflower
  3. Milkweed
  4. Verbena
  5. Zinnias
  6. Sunflowers~ I like to incorporate a row of these in the back of my garden so the blue jays can harvest the seeds once they’ve developed. 

Perennials include:

  1. Purple Coneflower or Echinechea~ I don’t cut back the seed heads as goldfinches feast on these in the fall and throughout the winter months.
  2. Alliums
  3. Bee Balm
  4. Black Eyed Susans
  5. Liatris
  6. Lavender
  7. Lupine
  8. Lavender~ my lavender plants are generally covered with honey bees while in bloom. I just love to hear the buzz of the little guys. 
  9. Any variety of mint~ this serves two purposes… one for me to make yummy mint tea, and one for the bees!
  10. Phlox

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Until next time remember to,
Eat fresh, shop local & have a happy day,


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7 thoughts on “Gardening 101~ How-to Create a beautiful Cottage Style Pollinator Garden with Both Annuals & Perennials!

  1. Jean, I am so inspired by this blog! My yard has a lot of green between the grass and ivy with some pops of yellow from the forsythia that grows in every yard on my street but I have yet to put in a garden and this blog has got me thinking it’s time. I love the idea of planting for the pollinators and appreciate that you remind us readers of the important of our pollinators. Your photos are stunning too, thanks for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Living in Central Texas, it is discouraging at times since our summers are so hot for many plants. However, I always grow lavender to attract the bees (you’re right — they love lavender) along with verbena, which does well here. The best filler for me is lantana — it comes in many colors and there isn’t much you can do to kill it! I’m still learning and appreciate all your tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am going to use this as we try to rebuild our garden. We live in Southern Texas, and it seems that every year we have a horrific freeze that kills everything to go along with all the heat in the summer. It’s a challenge! So, at least we have some guidelines to start with this year. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Is snow common in southern Texas? That surprises me. Yes I can imagine one extreme to the other. Thanks for stopping by and I sure am glad you were able to get some value out of this. Send me pics. I love to see what everybody is doing. Thanks for stopping by.


  4. Pingback: Gardening 101 ~ 10 Hardy Vegetables to Plant in Zones 4 & 5 in April~ PLUS Bonus Garden Tips! – For Dragonflies And Me

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