Designing with Plant Communities

Dan Jaffe Wilder, Horticulturalist, Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary; Co-author of Native Plants for New England Gardens

October 2020

All too often, during the design process, we think of plants on an individual or species basis. Yet in the landscape, plants are constantly interacting with one another in intricate ways. What happens if we create planting plans focused on complete systems rather than collections of individuals? Dan Wilder discusses how to create healthy, resilient plant communities by selecting and combining the right species for specific site conditions. He highlights a number of plant species and the settings for which they are well-adapted, with a focus on recommendations for tough light or soil conditions.

Dan Jaffe Wilder is passionate about ecological horticulture, and enhancing the wildlife value of every landscape. Prior to joining Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary, he was the senior plant propagator at Garden in the Woods. He is the co-author, with Mark Richardson, of Native Plants for New England Gardens, which features his captivating photographs.