Native gardens

Planting a mix of native trees shrubs and plants improves biodiversity and strengthens Guelph’s urban forest.

Native species provide food for birds and insects, and are generally naturally adapted to local soil conditions.

Native plants need the least amount of care when you put them in the right growing conditions.

Never fertilize native plants; they aren’t used to rich soil so you could end up with more roots and fewer blooms.

Add 5 centimetres (2 inches) of organic material (e.g. manure, compost, leaf mold) every two years to create a rich, nutritious soil, and remove the need to fertilize.

For the first few weeks, keep the top 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) of soil moist. After that, water once a week until plants are established (one to two seasons).

Adding 5 to 10 centimetres (2 to 4 inches) of mulch every few years to reduce watering needs, prevent weeds and increase plant survival and growth.

Native garden design—full sun

At least six hours of sun a day.

Native plants full sun

Spring interest

  • Amelanchier species, serviceberry
  • Aquilegia canadensis, Canadian columbine
  • Baptisia alba, white false indigo
  • Lupinus perennis, wild lupine
  • Sisyrinchium species, blue-eyed grass
  • Tiarella species, foam flower

Summer interest

  • Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed
  • Coreopsis tripteris, tall coreopsis
  • Echinacea pallida, pale, purple coneflowers
  • Liatris aspera, prairie blazing star
  • Rudbeckia hirta, blackeyed Susan
  • Veronicastrum virginicum, Culver’s root

Fall interest

  • Anaphalis margaritacea, pearly everlasting
  • Lobelia cardinalis, Cardinal flower
  • Symphyotrichum laeve, smooth blue aster

Printer-friendly: Sun – native garden

Native garden design—shade

Less than three hours of direct sunlight a day, filtered sunlight the rest of the day

Some native shade plants can spread quickly. Thin them regularly to keep them from taking over your garden

Plants used in this design

Spring interest

  • Asarum canadense, wild ginger
  • Cornus canadensis, bunchberry
  • Maianthemum racemosum, false Solomon’s seal
  • Tiarella species, foam flower

Summer interest

  • Anemone canadensis species,
    Canada anemone
  • Campanula rotundifolia, harebell
  • Cimicifuga racemosa, snakeroot
  • Helianthus divaricatus, woodland sunflower

Fall interest

  • Adiantum pedatum, northern maidenhair fern
  • Aruncus dioicus, dwarf goat’s beard
  • Cornus alternifolia, pagoda dogwood
  • Solidago flexicaulis, zig zag goldenrod

Printer friendly: Shade Native Garden plan