Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Feedback Welcome - draft habitat revealed!

Ta da!

I have a draft of what my new 550 sq ft front habitat garden bed will look like. 

While the shape is settled, consider it effectively a blank slate.  I encourage you to share your own thoughts about the design with me in the comments. 

Primary goals?

Save the planet. Do my part to combat our biodiversity crisis.

Increase the amount of habitat on my property using native plants.

Reducing the least productive and least sustainable portion of my greenspace, the lawn.

Secondary goal?

Maintain the look of a curated perennial garden. 

To broadly shift consumer behaviour it will become increasingly important for people to be inspired by beautiful home gardens with primarily native plants. To that end:

  • I've already arranged for my home to be on a garden tour this year, so gardeners can imagine making similar changes to increase biodiversity in their own yards. Yes, even with a newly planted bed.
  • I will be doing a presentation for the Prairie Naturals Gardening Group in April on integrating native plants into your home garden.

In October I took the first big step by putting in the new (lasagna) garden bed. Racing against the changing seasons, I finished just as the snow fell. There is no better incentive to plan a garden than to have the empty bed prepped and ready for next season.

This is where you come in. 
If you have experience working with native plants from Manitoba, or thoughts on overall design, feel free top speak up. I value feedback from the broader gardening community. Now is the time to make changes to the design - before I start buying any plants!
Don't worry about the number of plants this design is not to scale...yet.

All feedback is welcomed, in particular:

  • Which plants can easily and effectively begin with direct sowing this spring?
    • Violets? Bloodroot?
  • Will the Turtlehead be moist enough?
  • Will the Obedient plant get enough sun?
  • Where can I buy local native orchids?
  • Are there endangered plants and animals I can create specific habitat for?

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.



  1. Great motive and layout! I thought I'd pitch in my 2 cents but not having seen the area or know if the soil type, ph or moisture level, my one concern is the combo of turtlehead which requires a higher moisture content combined with both the pasque flower and western silvery aster which grow in drier well drained soil? Again, this may work if you've set it up for their specific needs. I'll also say that there are many plants here that speed slowly and may crowd out others. I've learned that my native meadow is always changing. Some plants are flourishing while others are fading and that's the natural prairie way...which is hard to accept sometimes:) All the best in our shared goal

    1. Thank you for weighing in. Your feedback along with others has had me revise and remove almost all of the turtlehead. (I'm going to test 3, just in case since they are the only hostplant for the Baltimore Checkerspot. If it's wishful thinking I'll survive.)

      Over the years I'll be very interested to see how the the plantings organically shift and flex. With that said, I'm not looking to be as flexible as a meadow since one of my goals is to maintain the look of a more traditional garden in the hopes of influencing friends and neighbours. Perhaps one day I'll have a native meadow somewhere though... I'd love to give it a try.