Planting a Mailbox Garden

Sandra Nam, from Plant Me A Rainbow, joined us to share tips about how to start a small perennial garden, sharing information about location type, tools needed, suggestions for specific plants, and more.

Did you miss the workshop? Watch the full recording.

Click above to download Sandra’s full presentation

Gardening can be overwhelming. Where to start? What to use? How to plant? Why not start with a simple mailbox project? You can start a simple perennial garden around your mailbox – or anywhere in your yard!

Creating an Informal Mailbox Garden

Take a shovel and a few plants (see our suggestions below). Remove the weeds, dig holes, fill with water, insert the plants. Keep moist and keep the area weed-free for the first months. After that, occasionally weeding and watering only during dry spells should be enough.

Creating a More Formal Mailbox Garden

For a more formal garden, choose edging first (whatever you have available). Inundate the inside area with water, cover with cardboard, add mulch and keep wet.

After a few months, when the cardboard has degraded and is soft enough to break with gentle pushing of a shovel, you can start planting, right through the mulch and cardboard. Reduce the layer of mulch to about 1 inch deep, to allow your plants to spread sideways, so they can fill in the area and make it harder for weeds to invade.

Keep watering your new plants for the first weeks. After that, occasional weeding and watering during dry spells will be sufficient.

Easy Fool-Proof Plant Species

Plant species for sunny areas – in order of blooming

Zizia Aurea/Golden Alexander – Monarda bradburiana/Beebalm – Asclepia tuberosa/Butterflyweed – Echinacea purpurea/Purple coneflower – Symphyotrichum oblongifolium/Aromatic aster

Plant species for sun-shade areas – in order of blooming

Geranium maculatum/Wild geranium – Amsonia hubrichtii/Amsonia – Iris versicolor/Blue flag iris, Tradescantia/Spiderwort – Solidago caesi/Blue stem goldenrod

Plant species for shady areas – in order of blooming

Polemonium caeruleum/Jacob’s ladder –  Tiarella cordifolia/Foamflower – Athyrium filix femina/Lady fern – Eurybia divaricata/White wood aster – Solidago flexicaulis/Zigzag goldenrod


For a list of local nurseries and online nurseries with a collection of plants native to our area, click here.