5 Steps to a Beautiful Bee and Butterfly Garden - Even with a Small Yard

Today's post is sponsored by Monrovia, but my love of plants -- and my opinions -- are my own.

I think it's sad that people are reporting all over the country that there just aren't as many birds and butterflies as there used to be.  As someone who depends on their pollination to bring me a fruitful garden and orchard (the same one I use to feed our 6 kids), it's so important to me that our property is a welcoming place for this little helpers!

The best, and most practical way, to roll out the welcome mat for bees and butterflies in your yard is to create a simple, yet beautiful garden, and Monrovia is starting to ship their beautiful plants to garden centers and stores in our area!

While my green house is still waiting out the latest cold snap to stock the plants I need, I have been having so much fun researching and planting what I need and where I can put them.  I'm using past year's experience, along with tools I'm finding online, to give me the most aesthetic results with the end goal of lots of bees and butterflies!

Here's my plan.

1) Find the perfect plot.  The best butterfly and bee gardens are somewhere they won't be disturbed by pets (or in our case the chickens) and that can be enjoyed from most places in your yard.  I want something that I can see from our picture window.

The old butterfly garden that was cleared when we moved into our home -- ready for planting!
If you are short on space, you can create an area for your plants around a tree, or on the corner of your lawn, like these spots that we've identified:

We used rocks around this tree and built up the soil for plants.

2) Prepare the soil.  Remove all rocks, debris, and hard topsoil from your garden patch.  If you feel like your soil may be lacking, you can give it a good turn with a tiller. Now the magic begins.

3) Select and plant your beautiful plants!  I spend many weeks gazing over plant varieties before picking the ones I want.  This year, we have been in awe of all the different butterfly bushes offered by Monrovia.  I can't decide between all the different colors available to grow in my zone (Zone 5) here in Nebraska.  When they come to my garden center, I think I'm going with the Black Knight Butterfly Bush (which is a deep purple) and the Petite Snow Butterfly Bush (which is a lacy white).

4) Watch the (good) fungus grow! Since Monrovia plants are grown in a soil that combines 42 different soil mixes, you can put the plants in their potting, directly into your garden and not worry about a thing.  They also ensure that mycorrhizae (a beneficial fungus) is plentiful in the dirt to ensure nutrient and water intake and a more fruitful yield.  This fungus grows into the garden bed, benefiting everything in it!

5) Water and prune.  Most plants and flowers in a butterfly and bee garden don't need much care.  In fact, you want to pretty much leave them alone so that you don't disturb your flying friends!  In addition to regular watering, however, it may be necessary to occasionally prune back dead stems or leaves, or pinch of dead flower heads.  Don't overdo it!

In addition to the beauty of bees and butterflies, you may find other helpful visitors coming to your garden.  It's possible to start seeing praying mantis, worms, and little birds wanting to enjoy the garden, too!

 Most zones are ready with plants in their local garden centers now! Even if they aren't, you can order your plants online and you'll be notified when they are available for pickup at your local store.  Are you excited to start planning your garden?  Check back in the coming weeks as the soil warms up and we start gardening!