PA Pondering: Design Challenge

Photo © NY State IPM Program at Cornell

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: Pennsylvania
Eco-Region: Central Appalachian Broadleaf Forest-Coniferous, Forest-Meadow Province
Planting Zone: 6b-5b
Learn more about this place by reading it’s Local Resources Page.

This home in Pennsylvania gets approximately 4-6 hours of daily sun. The garden area is sloped and rocky and the soil is usually not very wet. The owners would like to attract butterflies, birds, and wildlife beyond the chipmunks, fox, rabbits, frogs, and toads they already provide for. They would prefer to add low maintenance natives as the previous owners planted ornamental trees that require a lot of pruning and used a lot of mulch.


Photo ©

Cornell Says:
You can avoid the heavy mulching with the use of multiple ground covers. Mixing in Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata), Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) or Wild lupine (Lupinus perennis) to the current plantings would help suppress weeds and give an added “native boost” to the plant diversity, making the garden more attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. The area between the steps and the house could be planted with another low creeping vine like Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) to provide cover and native berries for birds and other wildlife as well as exceptional fall color and low maintenance for you!

To our readers: What else could you suggest regarding the use of mulch, pruning ornamental trees, and adding your favorite habitat enrichment?

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