Now is the Time to Plan for Your Landscape!
Spring is in full bloom in southern states, but the temperature in Michigan is usually still chilly in March. Now is a great time to dream ahead, making plans for your gardens and landscape. Here’s how you can help restore your River, take care of your ecosystem, and beautify your yard this spring.
First, don’t “clean up” your winter landscape too early.
- Very Important Pollinators (VIPs) spend the winter inside of dead stems and in leaves on the ground. They don’t wake up and hatch out until the temperatures are regularly above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Wait until late April/early May before cutting back dead plants and raking up leaves. This gives you plenty of time to plan! Learn more from the Xerces Society.
Take this time to design a new Michigan native planting area to replace a chunk of lawn.
- Why? Michigan native plants bring in more beauty, color, and interest to your landscape – throughout the seasons. They provide habitat for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Native root systems absorb much more rainwater than lawn, protecting your Rouge River from too much stormwater flooding and pollution.
- Plan to plant a native tree!
- Plan to plant a native flower garden!
There are so many beautiful flowering plants to choose from, whether your area is in sun or shade. A sun area gets 6 or more hours of sunlight whereas a shade area gets 6 or more hours without sunlight.
- In shade: Ideally, blend these with ferns or shade-loving native grasses and sedges:
- In sun: There are so many choices! Again, mix these with native grasses and sedges for a more sustainable combo:
- Plan to plant a rain garden!
- You can absorb even more rainwater, solve drainage problems in your yard, and have a unique and beautiful new garden by installing a rain garden with native plants.
- Here are two ways you can become a Master Rain Gardener. Either way – when you’re done, you’ll be ready to dig!
- Take in-person classes starting in mid-April. Learn with your neighbors, visit working rain gardens, ask questions, and get feedback.
- Learn on your own schedule with the free, recorded Master Rain Gardener Class through Washtenaw County (you do not need to live in the county to take this course). Register, get a how-to manual, videos, participate in discussions, and get feedback.
- Friends of the Rouge also has tons of Rain Garden resources on our website, head to therouge.org/buildRainGarden for DIY guides, lists of plants for rain gardens, link to rain garden programming, and professionals and plant sources. Friends of the Rouge also does private homeowner consultations, head over to the Rouge Store to learn more. While at our online store, check out the native plant kits available this Spring!
Even if it seems you’re far away from the Rouge River, what you do in your yard still makes a big difference to the health of the river and our whole ecosystem. Enjoy this time to plan now, for planting later!