First, Study Your Space:
Before selecting your final plant list, you need to get a sense of your space’s constraints and advantages.
A major determining factor is sunlight.
Spend a clear day checking on your future garden every hour or
two to ascertain which areas
receive light and shade as the sun moves across the sky.
especially important if you live in a dense area with tall buildings or
fences that block the sun.
You can make use of the darker spots, too, by opting for species that thrive in shade.
For areas that soak up a lot of rays, plan to choose sun-loving plants.
In shady situations, select plants that are sensitive to heavy sun, like those that grow in forest under-stories.
Also find out how tall your plants can grow, and whether they will shade out neighboring vegetation. Then, map accordingly.
gardens are easy to fit in tight spaces, from window boxes and hanging
baskets to perches on stoops and railings.
Let Your Container Gardens Go Native:
Choose plants that reflect the woodlands, meadows, and prairies of the American countryside for a rustic effect.
gardens are a perfect way to use natives when space is at a premium.
increasingly find nurseries and growers that specialize in all sorts of
Planting Natives In Containers:
Growing ornamental plants in
containers expands planting areas, adds color, and raises gardening
Growing in large pots also allows many condominium and apartment
dwellers to grow natives.
Container gardening provides
imaginative and effective ways to create small native gardens with
esthetic charm and plant appeal.
Washtubs, half barrels,
window boxes, and boxes made of rough lumber are just a few of the
choices. (Be sure they include drainage holes.)
Place plants that can’t take the sun in a shady area and plants that prefer moist soil where you can keep them
For planters in full sun, choose natives of prairies, glades, and open fields. For shadier sites, choose woodland
natives, plants that naturally grow in dappled shade.
Plan to group
plants that have the same cultural requirements together in the same
Designing For You As Well As Wildlife:
You probably aren’t getting into gardening just for the
birds, so be sure to think about how you want your container garden to
Maybe you want bright flowers, or maybe you’re more into a
Perhaps you want to go tall to screen out your
neighbors. Or maybe you need short plants for a window box that won’t
block your view.
You’ll also want to mix different types of plants to keep the space
interesting. This idea holds for growing multiple plants in the same
pot, if space allows.
A good principle for designing beautiful
individual containers is: “thriller, filler, spiller.”
something that grows tall and showy; then, add something that fills the
horizontal space of the container; and bottom it out with something that
spills over the sides.
A mix of foliage types and flowering times will
keep your garden lush week after week.
Once you’ve chosen your plants, get your dirt, seeds, and plants and
Water your plants regularly, as the small volume of soil in
containers tends to hold less moisture. Plants exposed to intense
sunlight may need to be watered multiple times a day.
be prepared for a little trial and error. You may want to start small
and see which plants thrive.
Know what you want from your space and how you plan to use
it. Be ready to
Then plant your containers and wait for the birds to
discover your new garden.
Much of this info and more can be found at the Audobon website.