Great Ideals for a Naturally Beautiful Garden in the Twin Cities
You will find quite a few individuals living in the Twin Cities are GREEN friendly and many have green thumbs. But those of us with regular thumbs love local plants. Our area’s own plants need no extra care (or pesticides) to thrive in the climate and soil of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Local plants produce nectar and pollen with perfect timing for our area’s bees and butterflies. Their blooms and seeds delight birds who live here or pass through. (Did you know our northern Mississippi River watershed is a migration hub for more than half of North America’s bird species?) Prairie grasses or and local berry bushes hold our original prairie soil in place and help control storm runoff.
Great Plants for Minneapolis and St. Paul Nature Gardens
Good picks for the beginner are American hazelnut, indigenous berry bushes, and pagoda dogwood. Kentucky coffee trees and native oaks provide perches for songbirds.
In spring, the prairie phlox and bloodroot bloom. And keep bees thriving even late in the year, with anise hyssop and asters.
Maidenhair ferns are perfect fillers. So is wild ginger. Try Solomon’s Seal or blue wild indigo around the edges. Some gardeners plant butterfly milkweed. Joe-pye weed, ironweed, or rough blazing star all attract bees and butterflies. And try gorgeous purple wild bergamot in your front garden.
Goldenrod, wild geranium, Jack-in-the-Pulpit or nodding trillium—and, of course, hostas—all bolster the city’s ecological value.
A Few Tips for Starting Your Garden
To restore your soil, start by smothering old lawn grass and weeds. Layers of newspaper or landscapers’ plastic with a mulch cover will get you started.
For prairie plants, check local ordinances for height. Three feet is a typical limit.
A Win for Nature and Community
A native garden is an eternal teacher. You’ll never stop learning about city garden aesthetics, or about the local ecosystems we ultimately all depend on. Enjoy!
Shannon Lindstrom, REALTOR®, AHWD, CRS, GREEN
748 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105