How to Plant a Garden for Birds and Pollinators

Posted by in Home Improvement Tips, on April 12, 2016

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Jenn Nawada, landscape designer for Ask This Old House, helps a homeowner turn her front yard into a garden that will attract birds and pollinators in Washington, D.C. (See below for the plant shopping list, tools, and steps.)

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Tools List for How to Plant a Garden for Birds and Pollinators:
– Digging shovel
– Transfer shovel
– Spade
– Rake

Shopping List for How to Plant a Garden for Birds and Pollinators:
– Depending on your zone, you can make your own choices.

Shopping List for Perennials:
– Agastache 'Rosie Posie' (anise hyssop)
– Amsonia hubrectii (blue star)
– Asclepias tuberosa 'Hello Yellow' (butterfly weed)
– Baptisia 'Indigo Spires' (false indigo)
– Chelone 'Hot Lips' (turtlehead)
– Dryopteris x australis (Dixie wood fern)
– Echinacea PowWow Wild Berry (coneflower)
– Eupatorium 'Little Joe' (Joe Pye weed)
– Helianthus 'Sunshine Daydream' (many-flowered sunflower)
– Liatris 'Kobold' (blazing star)
– Penstemon 'Dark Towers' (beardtongue)
– Phlox paniculata 'David' (garden phlox)
– Phlox paniculata 'Laura' (garden phlox)
– Phlox paniculata 'Nicky' (garden phlox)
– Stokesia 'Peachie's Pick' (Stoke's aster)
Shopping List for Grasses:
– Panicum virgatum 'Cape Breeze' (switch grass)
– Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal' (switch grass)
Shopping List for Shrubs:
– Fothergilla gardenii (dwarf fothergilla)
– Hydrangea quercifolia 'Alice' (oakleaf hydrangea)
– Ilex glabra 'Shamrock' (inkberry holly)
– Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet' (Virginia sweetspire)
– Lindera benzoin (spice bush)

Steps for How to Plant a Garden for Birds and Pollinators:
1. Clear the area where you'd like to plant the garden, perform a soil test, and amend soil as necessary.
2. Choose plants and lay them out in a design you like before you start digging.
3. Be sure to call a local gas utility before you dig to ensure you don't hit an underground gas line.
4. Using a digging shovel, dig holes almost as deep as the container for each plant and a little bit wider.
5. Take the plant out of the container and tease out the root ball.
6. Place each plant in its hole and fill it with a mixture of planting soil and leftover existing soil.
7. Spread out mulch around plants about 2 to 3 inches thick, keeping it away from the base of the plant so as not to smother it.
8. Give the newly planted garden a long soak of water and check it once a day to see if it needs more water.

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