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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About Carole Sevilla Brown

Carole Sevilla Brown is a Conservation Biologist who firmly believes that wildlife conservation begins in your own back yard. Carole is an author, educator, speaker, and passionate birder, butterfly watcher,  and naturalist who travels around the country teaching people to garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat for wildlife so that you will attract more birds, butterflies, pollinators and other wildlife. She gardens for wildlife in Philadelphia, zone 6b, and created the philosophy of Ecosystem Gardening. Watch for her book Ecosystem Gardening, due out soon. Carole is managing editor of  Beautiful Wildlife Garden, and also  Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. Follow Carole on Facebook and also @CB4wildlife and on Google+

Comments

  1. I have a question – are tulips considered appropriate in ecosystem gardening on the East Coast?
    .-= Robin´s last post ..Put the meaning in the greening this Thanksgiving =-.

    • 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.

  2. Once again Carole, a great list of resources for nature gardening inspiration. I’ll be back as I plan expansion of the wildlife suitability of my garden.
    .-= Alison Kerr´s last post ..Squirrel Tracks in the Snow =-.

  3. 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! =-.

  4. 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.

  5. Great resource Carole – glad I have somewhere to direct people to when they ask!
    Rachel Mathews recently posted..How To Plant A Small Courtyard Garden

  6. What to plant is a common question indeed. I for one ask myself this question every year. What I end up with is a mish mash of plants, bushes and trees that don’t always play nice. These articles will surely help my future gardening efforts!
    green gardener recently posted..Federal Cash for Clunker Appliances

  7. 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!

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

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

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

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

  17. [...] 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 [...]

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

  19. [...] 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. [...]

  20. [...] varieties that provide multiple benefits, [...]

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  23. [...] best bet for creating habitats that support the largest number of birds is to plant a wide variety of native plants that are appropriate to your region. The more natives you’ve got in your garden, the more birds you will see. It really is that [...]

  24. [...] 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. [...]

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  28. […] 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. […]

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