Choosing the Best Plants for Your Ecosystem Garden

Monarch on Milkweed

Native Plants support wildlife

“What should I plant?” is the most frequent question I receive from people who are interested in creating habitat for wildlife in their gardens. For all of you who have the same question and want to discover how to choose the best plants for your Ecosystem Garden, I have some answers for you. You may want to bookmark this page because new articles will be added regularly. Read on….

The Top 10 Best Woody Plants for Your Ecosystem Garden–you get a big bang for your buck by planting trees and shrubs with the highest wildlife value.

The Top 10 Best Herbaceous Plants for Your Ecosystem Garden–choose from these favorites and create a beautiful butterfly garden.

Native Plant Nurseries of the US and Canada–a guide to finding the best native plant nursery near your garden.

Designing Any Garden Style with Native Plants–my podcast with Carolyn Summers, author of Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East show how to design any style of garden at all with native plants.

What Makes a Plant Invasive? The First Lesson in What NOT to Plant–invasive plants are destroying wildlife habitat and wreaking havoc in native ecosystems.

Throw Away the USDA Hardiness Map, the Second Lesson in What NOT to Plant–learn how to discover which plants are locally native and most appropriate for your garden.

Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants–finding the best native plants to replace those nasty invasives is easy with this guide.

Introducing the Sibley Guide to Trees–getting to know your local native trees

Bringing Nature Home to Your Ecosystem Garden–Doug Tallamy explains why native plants are crucial in creating habitats for wildlife in your garden.

Check out my new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week, teaching you to garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat for wildlife in your garden.

© 2009 – 2013, Carole Sevilla Brown. All rights reserved. This article is the property of EcosystemGardening.com If you are reading this at another site, please report that to us

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Comments

    • says

      Robin, the biggest problem with tulips is squirrels. You can spend hours and getting them in just the right place, only to discover the following year that now they’re coming up in the middle of your pathways because the squirrels have moved them (the ones they don’t eat, anyway). I’ve never seen tulips growing in wild places, and this is mostly because they don’t last for that many years. I have seen daffodils growing in open woodlands because the squirrels don’t really like to eat them. I don’t think either are considered invasive. So, if you want tulips, here’s a trick: put a daffodil bulb in the planting hole on top of the tulip. This works best if you use varieties that bloom at different times. But the daffodil bulb (sometimes) keeps the squirrels from getting at your tulips.

  1. says

    Awesome resources for North American gardeners, I’d just like to remind readers new to wildlife gardening that any list of best plants is totally dependent on location. Even within North America, a plant that is a valuable native in one area can be a problematic invasive somewhere else (e.g. Manitoba maple Acer negundo, which the Ontario Society for Ecological Restoration considers one of the worst invasive species in southern Ontario (PDF) even though in nearby provinces and states it is native.)
    .-= Rosemary´s last blog ..Matthiola incana ‘Vintage White’ seeds: a promise of a fragrant summer! =-.

  2. Kelly Brenner says

    Thanks for all the great links. I’m also a huge fan of the Sibley Guide to Trees, I refer to it all the time.

    You can also find regional plants for wildlife lists on my blog for many regions throughout the US (let me know if I’ve missed one). Just click on your state and see what there is. http://www.metrofieldguide.com/?page_id=292

    • Carole Brown says

      Thank, Kelly. As soon as I have a minute to breathe I’ll be adding your excellent resources links here.

  3. says

    Hi All;
    If you’re thinking about plants for an ecosystem garden, why not think about pollinators too!? The bees, beetles, birds, moths, and other animals that make our fruits and veggies possible need all the help they can get! The Pollinator Partnership has some FANTASTIC guides for choosing native, pollinator-friendly plants for your region. Just go to their page (http://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm), enter your zipcode, then download the free .pdf file!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Brown gardens in Philadelphia, zone 6b, and writes at Ecosystem Gardening, teaching you to garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat for […]

  2. […] Brown gardens in Philadelphia, zone 6b, and writes at Ecosystem Gardening, teaching you to garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat for […]

  3. […] Plant Society and I now base my choice of plants on their value in a biodiverse landscape and appropriateness to my ecosystem rather than some cookie cutter look that we are brainwashed to adapt to. I’m now […]

  4. […] Add more Native Plants to your wildlife garden. If you want wildlife in your garden, the best thing that you can do is add more native plants to your landscape because native plants support local food webs. […]

  5. […] Creating a wildlife garden is a process, it’s not one specific event. And it’s never too late to begin the journey. While it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re just starting out, it’s important to remember to just take one step at a time. Perhaps start by spending some time this winter choosing the best plants for your wildlife garden. […]

  6. […] to talk about native plants, can I answer any questions? Do you grow any natives in your yard? Are you interested in learning more about native plants?” You want to ask questions that aren’t challenging their knowledge, just leading toward […]

  7. […] But the answer to this question is not as simple as you may think. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. But instead this answer depends on many factors, chief of which is where do you live? The best plants for your wildlife garden will be native to your local area. […]

  8. […] But the answer to this question is not as simple as you may think. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. But instead this answer depends on many factors, chief of which is where do you live? The best plants for your wildlife garden will be native to your local area. […]

  9. […] Just as buying local ingredients provides superior freshness and taste, planting indigenous species has its own unique benefits.  Local plants have adapted to the conditions of your region and therefore require little maintenance.  There is also no risk of inadvertently spreading an invasive species into the wild.  You can read more about choosing native plants here. […]

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