Today we’re visiting a garden that blends beauty and practicality.
My name is Hailey, and I live in the northwest Illinois backcountry. I have a great passion for both gardening and chickens, and I wanted to have a place for my chickens that wasn’t utilitarian but beautiful and that flowed with my garden style. I have been working on my chicken coop garden for several years now, and it’s really shaping into something beautiful!
Sometimes it can be difficult for gardens and a flock to coexist, as chickens love to eat and scratch up plants. I chose plants that are sturdy enough to withstand pecking and scratching, such as Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ (Zones 3–9) and common echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3–8).
I also choose plants that the chickens nibble at but don’t destroy, such as my absolute favorite annual, nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus). They especially love the seeds.
I strove for bright cheery colors that would pop against the white coop. Zinnias thrive here, fertilized by fallen poop and shavings, and are very tough, withstanding chicken feet that take shortcuts through the beds. My favorite varieties are Queen Red Lime and Starlight Rose, a low-growing beauty.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, Zones 7–11 or as annual) is disliked by chickens because of its strong scent. It’s good for areas you want them to leave alone, and it also has lots of health benefits for your flock.
As small as an area it is, I’m always finding places to tuck little pieces in. I found this antique rooster for five dollars at a garage sale. I also took an old broken chicken feeder and planted purple gomphrena inside.
Even in mid-October 2019, the garden was still going strong. The echinacea had died, but my starlight zinnias and chrysanthemums flourished until the final, killing frost. I can’t wait for spring to come so I can enjoy more memories with my beloved chickens and my flowers!
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