Urban Summer Garden

Words & Images by Jay Wen

Summer is always

an exciting time of the year in the garden as flowers bloom in succession and our winged friends buzz about pollinating the plants.

This spring we designed a butterfly garden to get more pollinators to our garden. In the urban jungle that is Brooklyn, there aren’t enough places for birds, butterflies, bees (and others) to get their food from so I wanted to create a safe space for them to eat, lay eggs and thrive.

I chose a variety of flower seeds to plant in containers on the roof.  I grew Oriental Poppies, Zinnias, Sunflowers, Echinacea, Chamomile and a Wildflower Mix. In addition to the seeds, pink yarrow plant I purchased from last year has expanded three times bigger.  The flowers last a long time, making it a favorite amongst the bees. I’ve seen different butterflies and types of bees busying themselves amongst the flowers. Plant and they will come no matter where and what size your garden is! 

Tip: Pollinators are drawn to plants with different shapes, colors and scents. Choose a pack of native wildflower seeds to help get you started.


For early summer pickin' beans are an easy crop to grow, a good plant to try as a beginner. This is the second sowing of the season and it’s nice to add to some crunch to our meals straight from the garden.

After several failed attempts from slugs decimating the leafy greens in the grow beds, I grew greens in vertical grow bags attached to a fence (which also helps conceal the neighbor’s unsightly yard). We’ve been able to get a few harvests. I transplanted arugula, kale, and spinach that I started from seed earlier in the season.

Tip: You can grow 2-3 plants in each pocket and pick as micro greens or 1 plant and let it grow to the size you want to eat. The plants will grow back again for another harvest as long as the leaves are picked from the sides.


My summer projects have been a huge success so far. What projects or new things are you doing in your garden this year? 

Curious about what our garden looked like in the Spring this year? Check it out here