When we built our house nine years ago, I planted wildflowers in an area behind our lot. That area backs up to a walking path and several city-owned ponds. Knowing little about prairies or wildflowers at the time, I bought a wildflower seed mix for the Midwest, prepared the area, scattered the seed and hoped for the best. Sometimes that method words out well enough, as it did in my case, but at the time, I could have used a resource available specific to Minnesota. Well, now there is one.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service of the USDA recently published a booklet called “Living Landscapes in Minnesota: A Guide to Native Plantscaping.” For such a small book (only 36 pages), it’s a remarkably thorough resource on native plantings. The booklet provides an overview of how to design your landscape using native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses, as well as information on site preparation and choosing the best plants for your soil type. It also includes information on rain gardens, alternatives to Kentucky bluegrass for lawns, and planting for energy conservation. The lists of native plants that are appropriate for each type of landscape are also helpful.
The conservation service has a few printed copies available for distribution or you can simply download a PDF of the book. If you are planning to use natives in your landscape, it’s worth checking out.