Click to view the Wildflower Garden planting layout.

Plant a Wild Flower Garden

Many of you may want to plant a wildflower garden for butterflies and other pollinators but are at a loss as to where to start. For those of you who read this post and are designers and/or experienced in using native plants I’m sure you may have your own palette. It would be fun for me to hear your preferences!

But here is a suggestion for a full sun prairie garden that is approximately 4 ½ feet by 10 feet. It needn’t be in this shape. In fact it could be rectangular along a walk or driveway. If you have more space you’d like to tackle such as along a driveway edge or front of house border, you could also just repeat this layout. Repetition of color and form are design elements that help make a garden legible.

Click on the images that accompany this post to enlarge the view and print it for your reference. You’ll see on the planting layout that a 1’ x 1’ grid is marked out to help you place the plants. Different size circles represent the different mature sizes of each native species. Each one has also been selected for their height at maturity.

Have fun with this! I hope it helps get some of you started! Remember to check the native plant sale dates or to ask your local garden center if you don’t find what you’re looking for when you visit. Often they are willing to order for you if you order in pint containers or larger.

Other helpful references include:

Illinois Wildflowers. This is an excellent reference site that is run by Dr. John Hilty. Remember you can get to the site to look up a particular species by “googling” the plant scientific name followed by IL. For example, search Echinacea pallida IL and your first selection option will take you right to the specific page.

Missouri Prairie Foundation. This website has a lot of good information and lists but be careful. A number of the plants are more from southern Illinois and not found or grown in the NE Illinois region. You can cross-reference with Illinois Wildflowers and with Midwest’s Natural Garden Native’s Plant Library. All the NGN native plants genetically local to northeast Illinois.

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