Sustainable Gardens Map

1. Welcome Garden

Our welcome garden combines native plants, "nativars" (cultured varieties of native species) and conifers in honor of the Midwest landscape — the prairie and forests of our region. We used native plants here for their beauty and because we don’t have to water this space. This saves resources and expands our habitat, helping other native creatures to flourish.

2. Wetland Plants

The Great Lakes region is rich in wetlands—and wetland plant species, some of which we grow in this native garden.

3. Dune Habitat

The dune habitat displays the plant community from our lakeshore, including prickly pear cactus!

4. Low-Maintenance Gardening

These plants get by on very little water. Using natives that are adapted to the local rainfall saves resources. This is a xeriscape garden with plants that work in our zone 5 climate.

5 & 6. Food and Flower Gardening

We grow food for our animals and ourselves. Growing vegetables together with ornamentals makes sense: The bees are attracted by the flowering plants and use the nectar to make honey. While harvesting the nectar they pollinate our fruit and vegetable plants, which insures a good harvest for all.

7. Annual Display

In this garden, we have fun painting with flowers. Our display of colorful annuals is inspiring and useful, providing nectar for our insects and food for our eyes.

8. Backyard Vegetable Gardening

This backyard vegetable space is a learning lab for techniques that you can use at home. We use raised beds to grow crops. We are building compost here and using compost tubes to enrich the soil. The keyhole garden is a garden model developed to save water and recycle compost into small garden plots. 

9. Urban Vegetable Garden

This vegetable garden proves how little space you need to grow your own bounty at home. By using intensive techniques and interplanting crops, more can be grown in less space. Trellises also increase production by using vertical space  for crops like cucumbers, beans and melons.

10. Rain Garden

Our rain garden can handle a 10-year flood. It accommodates the recycling of water from our terraces to the soil below. Deep-rooted plants make spaces in the soil with their roots for water to soak in and percolate down, reducing runoff and filtering the water before it returns to the aquifer.

11. Organic Lawn

Our organic lawn provides a safe place for people to relax and our reptiles to graze if desired. Our lawn-care methods make it hard for weeds to grow. We build soil by adding compost and compost tea, which help develop the soil food cycle to feed the lawn. This locks nutrients in the soil where they're needed and doesn’t let wash away in rainwater runoff like chemical fertilizers do. 

12 & 13. Gardening for birds and wildlife

Shedd's location on Lake Michigan's shoreline puts us on the Mississippi Flyway, a major migration route for birds. Birds visiting our grounds can rest and refuel here in the shelter and bounty of this landscape. Native plants also grow native insects—essential food for both resident and migratory nesting birds and their babies.