- November 11, 2015
Design Challenge takes photos of tricky spots in people’s yards and puts them out there for advice from the professionals at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and from our broad audience of participants, some of whom have some serious wildlife gardening credentials (just check out our Featured Sites for proof).
This small garden bed at a southern Florida home receives the soft, warm morning sun (this picture was taken at 11am).
There are sprinklers in the lawn so it gets plenty of water, especially with the South Florida rains.
The homeowner would like this area to be visually more appealing. They would love to see it blooming most of the year, to attract butterflies and maybe some birds.
Even small plots can be powerful habitat. With the right mixture of seasonal blooms, this simple space could provide multiple resources throughout the year for birds and pollinators. A mix of perennial wildflowers could be easily timed to provide nectar, berries, or seed all year long. Eastern red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and Wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata) can begin blooming as early as February or March and will bloom through the spring. Then summer color, Golden groundsel (Packera aurea) and Smooth beggartick (Bidens laevis) will attract butterflies and other pollinators. A Pine lily (Lilium catesbaei) in the center could provide a colorful fall centerpiece.
To increase the habitat provided to birds and butterflies, the small garden could be expanded to connect with the gardens near the house. Removing the lawn that separates the gardens can reduce maintenance in those difficult areas and improve the health of the habitat, ultimately increasing the amount of wonderful winged visitors you could receive.
What is a good mix of native plants in your region that will produce blooms all year long?