You don’t have to do much to encourage wild flowers and grasses to come to your garden. If you stop mowing the area where you want them, the meadow that grows up will bring birds, butterflies, moths, and dragonflies. It is astounding the difference in the amount of wildlife that shows up when you have wilder areas in the garden. I think there is a tendency in this country to over manicure our gardens and lawns. Another benefit of giving an area over to some wild grasses and flowers is that you don’t need to weed or mow those areas. That said, I chose which plants I allow and the ones I don’t want require some extra labor removing them. The last two years I have been cutting down the goldenrod around the pond before it set seed. What I have discovered is that the beautiful NY. State asters are now proliferating with less competition. Don’t get me wrong- I have come to love goldenrod, but I prefer it in the fields –not in my garden. The other thing I have noticed is that sulfur yellow color of the goldenrod prevents you from seeing the subtle pale violets, purple of the asters. Once the brash yellow is gone the asters really stand out!
This year I had some spare white phlox which I planted in amongst the wild asters and along with the subtle grey of the arctic willow it makes a very good pond planting.