Green alley garden

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The alley before construction
The alley after construction

Garden Design and Plant Selection

In 2008, when we decided to develop a green alley bordered with garden beds, a garden group formed with the purpose of selecting plants and designing their placement in the beds. The Green Garage has set a goal of 90% Michigan native plants around the building, and the alley meets that goal. Most of the plants in the beds are native to Michigan, with the exception of spring bulbs and a few annuals that will keep the color going all year. Native plants are desired because they are suited to Michigan's climate, with our wet springs and dry July-August period. They are bug resistant and disease resistant and need far less watering than non-natives. We consulted a number of gardening books, including A - Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs, and Landscaping with Native Plants of Michigan and developed a wish list. From this list we picked plants that were most suited to an urban environment and arranged them in beds according to the following factors: sun, moisture needs, plant height, season of bloom, type of soil required and spacing requirements (see our Master Plant List spreadsheet).

Garden Maps

West End

From Second Ave going east...

Green Alley West End Layout Revised.jpg

Link to this image as a pdf: Green Alley West End

Middle Section

Middle of the alley...

Green Alley Middle Section Revised.jpg

Link to this image as a pdf: Green Alley Middle Section

East End

Towards Motor City Brewing Works...

Green Alley East End Revised.jpg

Link to this image as a pdf: Green Alley East End

Planting and Maintaining

We ordered our plants from Wildtype Native Plant Nursery in Mason, MI, and planned on a delivery for early June, 2010. Due to delays in the construction process, we were unable to plant until the 4th of July weekend (which was hotter than blazes). We dealt with 2 issues: root-bound plants and very difficult planting conditions. We did, however, forge ahead, determined to get our plants into the ground. A team of about 10 people helped in the process.

Since the planting, we have been regularly watering a few times a week, due to the newness of the plants and the extreme heat of the 2010 summer. Every Friday the garden group surveys the garden together and does routine maintenance. The plants are progressing and we're enjoying every visitor that comes through.

Plant Encyclopedia

Photos of the various plants that are in the alley. They are alphabetically arranged here. For a more complete description of the plants, see our Master Plant List.

Garden Photos - Flickr

See Also