Maine Squeeze: Design Challenge

Photo © Ronald Zigler

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).

The Details

Location: York County, Maine
Eco-Region: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province Guide
Planting Zone: 5b
Learn more about this place by reading it’s Local Resources Page.

This homeowners “trouble spot” in York County, Maine receives 1-2 hours of filtered sun in the early morning and a couple hours of direct late afternoon sun. There are several tall oaks nearby that shade the area but do let diffuse sunlight through. It is generally dry except during early spring following snow melt.

The spot to plant is roughly 20×22 feet. Recently some non-native perennials, some annuals and A LOT of pachysandra were removed. The owners would like to squeeze a small fire pit into one corner for fall/winter use, and then dedicate the remaining space to plantings that will attract birds and beneficial insects the rest of the year.


Photo ©

Cornell Says:
Placing the fire pit in a front corner would allow it and the backdrop of native plants to be seen all year. Start low around the fire pit with some Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) followed behind with some slightly taller Lanceleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) for pollinators and Bluebell or Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia) to attract hummingbirds. Behind those you could plant successively taller wildflowers like Foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) and Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) to fill the space.

To our readers: What other native wildflowers or shrubs would you suggest squeezing into this new garden area?

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