Q.Starting a micro prairie in Michigan
I have a very small front yard and am going to be putting a fence around it and digging up the grass and I want to do more of a wildflower feel with butterfly weed and other native Michigan plants. I just didn’t know if you had any advice for me.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
I believe that this article will give you some useful information: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/gardening-by-zone/zone-6/zone-6-wildflower-planting.htm
Good preparation is important. One website that I've found helpful is PrarieMoon.com If you are going native for local birds, bees, etc try to buy from a native plant nursery that collects its seed in Michigan. The "wildflower" mixes found at larger stores is a collection of annuals and perennials, some of which are not native to the USA, much less Michigan. Prairies contain a mixture of grasses, sedges and flowers. Many native flowers do not bloom until the second year if grown from seed. Rudbeckia hirta is one exception. Since it takes several years for the native plants to fill in, you are faced with weeding your patch until then. Identifying weed from native seedlings is difficult. It might help to get a plant ID app. The first year, you need to water as the plants haven't had time to develop the deep roots that will see them through droughts in future years. Pick out a native groundcover to fill empty spaces and keep out weeds. Sedges, native strawberry and others can be used as groundcover. Here is a brochure that lists sellers of native plants in Michigan. https://www.mnppa.org/docs/mnppa_brochure.pdf