Three square feet

If you have a sunny spot, you can have a beautiful, sustainable, environmentally friendly garden in just three square feet of space. How? Plant one milkweed,

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Red or swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata, blooms in June and July, grows about 4 feet tall, and is not fussy about soil. Other choices include orange butterflyweed (A. tuberosa, shorter and fond of dry soil), or common milkweed (A. syriaca, pale pink flowers, not fussy about soil). Avoid tropical milkweed, A. curvassicava, which is not native.

one aster,


New England aster (Aster novae-angliae) begins blooming in August and doesn’t stop until hard frost. There are hundreds of Aster species for sunny sites. In addition to providing late season color, all are pollinator magnets and host plants for many species of native insects.

and one native grass.


Little bluestem (Schizachrium scoparium, 2-3 feet tall) is beautiful in all seasons and provides abundant seeds for birds in autumn. Grasses are host plants for the many species of butterflies in the skipper family. Little bluestem prefers poor soil; if your soil is richer, try prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepsis, also 2-3 feet). Most native grasses bloom in late summer.

You will have flowers from late May through October, food for multitudes of insects, and host plants for many types of butterflies. And as an added bonus, deer and rabbits don’t eat milkweed or most native grasses.


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