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Setting up a wildlife garden

Plants for butterflies

Plants for bees

Plants for hummingbirds

Plants for birds

Plant map

 

 

 

Flowers for the front of the border that help wildlife

 

If you have beds that are 4 feet or more deep, then you have the potential to add a vertical dimension to your garden, which can be achieved by planting low plants at the front to offset the higher plants at the back. Some of the woodland flowers fall back into dormancy by the middle of summer. If you plant those, have something else ready to take place later on in the growing season. The woodland plants are often spring flowering while those that need plenty of sunlight are summer flowering.

If you are doing some version of prairie style planting in your garden, it does not really matter what you have at the front of the border. In a typical suburban garden, the front of the border is actually important in setting the tone for the whole bed. People notice the details in this part of the garden. In general, I prefer to make the patches in the front of the border wider than the patches behind them. The flowers in short plants are often small and larger patches are needed to make them noticeable. If you are looking for really low plants that form carpets, then consider Houstonia or Calamintha arkansana or Antennaria. Hanging baskets are a good way to have low annual plants when you are short of space.

  Hanging basket  
  Hanging baskets are great for beautifying your home. They can also be very inviting to wildlife as well. This basket received numerous visits from bees and hummingbirds. It was placed right by the back door and enabled my family to see hummingbirds up close and personal.  

 

Perennials for the front of the border:

Name Notes
Allium cernuum native

Nodding wild onion has upside-down flowers to attract bumblebee

Anemone patens native A spring flower that needs a well drained soil.
Antennaria sp. native The leaves of this plant hug the ground. It flowers in the spring on stalks 6 inches high.
Asclepias ovalifolia native A low milkweed that does well in average partly shaded sites.
Asclepias verticillata native One of the lowest and daintiest milkweeds available. Needs dry sandy soil.
Baptisia bracteata A mid-western prostrate Baptisia
Blephilia sp. native A low growing member of the mint family
Calamintha sp. An excellent non-native front of the border plant that attracts hordes of pollinators.
Calamintha arkansana native A native calamint.
Callirhoe involucrata A postrate plant with long summer blooms.
Dalea sp. native Purple prairie clover needs to be planted en masse at the front of the border to have any effect.
Dicentra cucullaria A woodland plant that needs moist soils.
Gaillardia sp. native Long summer blooming plant that can take heat and drought.
Gentiana andrewsii native  
Geum triflorum native Flowers do not open, but the seed heads provide interest. They attract bumblebees.
Geranium maculatum native Flowers in the spring for a few weeks. Plant en masse.
Houstonia longifolia native Flowers for a long time from early summer. It forms a carpet.
Liatris cylindracea native Great for xeriscaping.
Maianthemum canadense native  
Mertensia virginica native A spring ephemeral that is eye-catching when planted en masse.
Monarda bradburiana A mid-western plant that flowers in late spring.
Phlox divaricata native Requires moist woodland soil.
Podophylum peltatum native A spring flowering woodland plant.
Pulsatilla patens native A spring flower that takes sun and dryness.
Spigelia marilandica A woodland flower of the Eastern United States that feeds hummingbirds.
Solidago ptarmicoides native A goldenrod that looks like an aster. It attracts bees.
Trillium sp. native A true woodland perennial.
Verbena simplex native A mid-summer perennial that does well in sandy soils.
Zauschneria garretti A very low plant that flowers from mid-summer throught to frost. It attracts hummers.
Zizia aptera. native The plants are low but the flowerheads double the height. It is one of the first plants to flower in spring.