Most of the trees and plants on my lot were cleared away when the home was built, so there's nothing left to attract birds or other wildlife. Can you suggest some fast-growing plants?
—Suzy Maxwell, Swiftwater, Pennsylvania
Melinda: With no existing landscape, you'll need to add plants that will tolerate full sun. You can use a mixture of annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs to supply the food and shelter wildlife need. Annuals will provide you with results the first season. Here are some that do well in most soil conditions: sunflower, dahlia, marigold, zinnia, verbena, nasturtium, petunia and cleome. For perennials, choose yarrow, hollyhock, pearly everlasting, rock cress, butterfly weed, purple coneflower, black-eyed Susan, daylily, phlox, lupine, bee balm or sedum. They'll start filling in and blooming the second year. In the meantime, try planting some evergreens and deciduous plants to create shelter and food for wildlife. For fast-growing shrubs in your climate, try dogwood. Shrub rose, viburnum, winterberry and alpine currant don't grow quite as fast but will also attract wildlife. For trees, select ash, crab apple, hawthorn and maple.