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Nature Insects & Spiders

A Garden for the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee

Creating Habitat for Native Pollinators: Ontario and Great Lakes Edition

by (author) Lorraine Johnson & Sheila Colla

illustrated by Ann Sanderson

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Jun 2022
Insects & Spiders, Canada, Beekeeping
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


An inspiring and practical guide to creating beautiful habitat gardens full of life

A Garden for the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee provides all the information gardeners need to take action to support and protect pollinators, by creating habitat in yards and community spaces, on balconies and boulevards, everywhere!

With more than 300 native plants of Ontario and the Great Lakes region profiled in detail, along with sample garden designs, ideas for beautiful plant pairings and numerous tips for success, this fully-illustrated guide helps gardeners discover the crucial connections between native plants and native pollinators, and learn how to cultivate patches of pollinator paradise.

About the authors

After three decades of gardeningand almost as long writing about itLorraine Johnson still gets excited (and unrealistic!) every spring about the amount of space she has in her small city frontyard and backyard. So she regularly scrounges space from others: in community gardens, at family members houses, even city parks Her interests are mainly in the ways that growing plants (for food, for environmental benefits) nurtures the good in ourselves and the world. She views gardening as a deep and meaningful conversation with the planet. Johnson was the president of the North American Native Plant Society and is the author of numerous books on gardening and environmental issues, including The New Ontario Naturalized Garden, The Gardeners Manifesto, and City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing. Lorraine is much-in-demand throughout North America as a garden speaker on native plants. She currently lives in Toronto.

Lorraine Johnson's profile page

Sheila Colla is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto, ON. She works closely with environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and government agencies to implement the best available science in policy and land management. She co-authored The Bumblebees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton University Press, 2014) and helps run the citizen science program Bumble Bee Watch.

Sheila Colla's profile page

Ann Sanderson has an undergraduate degree in zoology and biology from the University of Toronto and attended the Science Illustration program at the University of California in Santa Cruz. She is now a freelance illustrator in Toronto, ON where she enjoys gardening and visually documenting the plants and wildlife of the city. Her work can be found at

Ann Sanderson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“This book is beautifully written, wonderfully illustrated, and essential reading for any gardener interested in supporting pollinators and the ecosystems in which they find themselves. Seldom is there a reference that is so delightful to peruse. It gives even a beginning naturalist a sense of hope, a feeling that even a simple gardener can do something both meaningful and beautiful for their gardens, for their garden’s pollinators, and ultimately, for their whole community.”

Olivia Messinger Carril, co-author of <i>The Bees in Your Backyard</i>

“What a valuable, comprehensive, timely, and beautiful resource! Lorraine Johnson and Sheila Colla provide the rationale, urgency, and detailed know-how for restoring essential pollinator habitats, not only for the rusty-patched bumblebee, but for all of Ontario’s pollinators. Just a fantastic contribution!”

Douglas Tallamy, author of <i>Bringing Nature Home</i>

A Garden for the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee is a call to action from Johnson and Colla that will inspire you to look, think, and act differently in your garden. You’ll get a primer on pollinators and learn why native plants matter. They’ll walk you through the simple steps of turning lawns into gardens or an existing garden into a pollinator paradise. Even urban and balcony gardeners will discover how to make a difference in the smallest of spaces.”

Niki Jabbour, author of <i>Groundbreaking Food Gardens</i> and <i>The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener</i>

“Combining the extensive knowledge of a renowned author and bee researcher, this engaging and accessible book showcases multiple ways to enhance or convert a garden into a thriving habitat for wild bees. This book has it all—sample garden plans, beautiful illustrations and photographs, a comprehensive section profiling native plants and the specific pollinators the plants support, answers to common pollinator gardening questions, and a discussion about the critical link between native plants and pollinators. With its broad appeal, Ontario gardeners will treasure this extremely informative book.”

Heather Holm, Pollinator Conservationist and author of <i>Bees: An Identification and Native Plant Forage Guide</i>

“…[Garden for the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee] is the perfect handbook for anybody wanting to approach their garden with an ecological bent…The authors offer the reader a thoughtful journey in the first half of the book that explores why native pollinator habitats are so important, and how to create them. This book is accessible, enjoyable and is worth revisiting for its “A-ha” moments you are bound to experience as you read it….If you aren’t already an avid native-plant gardener, this book will be the revelation that opens a new world of gardening to you. For many long-time gardeners, Johnson and Colla offer a complete re-education on a world of plants you thought you knew. Drawing on Johnson’s deep knowledge on the topic, this is as complete a guide to gardening for beneficial nature that we have encountered.”

Ben and Mark Cullen, The <i>Toronto Star</i>

“Johnson and Colla bring us a glorious manifesto about gardening for bumblebees, and other pollinators. Profusely illustrated, it highlights dozens of pollinator-worthy flowering plants for home and community gardens. An encyclopedic but highly accessible book that belongs with every gardener and naturalist.”

Stephen Buchmann, author of <i>The Reason for Flowers</i>

“This book’s a winner…Johnson may be Canada’s best known gardening writer.”

Kate Harries, Return of the Native Hardy Perennials

“Saving the bees requires planting native plants, lots of native plants! This gardening book distills critical information about wild, native bees while offering abundant detail, photos, planting guides and references for gardeners. It’s a book I highly recommend for planting season and for the dreaming season, too, in winter.”

Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada

Other titles by Lorraine Johnson