Gardening to Support Wildlife

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You’ve landscaped your yard/lawn and planted a garden. You ideally want a space where animals, insects and plants can thrive. Landscaping and gardening with this in mind is one is a way to create a natural habitat that attracts wildlife. You create such a space by thinking about how you set up your garden as well as what is placed in it.

Do you refill the birdfeeder all the time? You can mitigate that by using planting that the birds can use all year long. You can also leave some spaces wild. For instance, the painted bunting bird likes to eat grass seeds. I leave some areas unmown and they flock to the seedheads. A pretty sight!

Birdhouse
Birdhouse

Many animals, such as squirrels (and deer) will eat the nuts from some plants as well as the seeds. Flowers are needed for certain insects in order for them to have nectar. So choose edible shrubs and flowers.

You might also consider planting berry bushes or small fruit trees. The deer (assuming you WANT the deer in your yard) will eat wild blackberries and the leaves. Any wildlife you want to attract will need a habitat. You want to create spaces and food for them. An added boon is that, in the event of an actual emergency, you too can pick the blackberries, fruits and nuts for your own consumption.

blackberries
blackberries

Add some cover shrubs. Birds like shelter. A cedar tree, a pine tree, a bush, leave a tree stump or two, add some bird houses, leave a small brush pile. (But not close to the house…) Frogs/toads like broken upturned terra cotta pots.

frog
frog

The space doesn’t need to be picture perfect. If you provide food and a habitat the wildlife will find them.

You also want a water feature or some source of water. Does your outdoor faucet leak? Add an old cooking pot underneath to catch the drips. Place a stick in it, just in case a frog should get inside. Doing so will allow it to climb out. A birdbath works as a water source for birds, but you’ll need something ground level for small critters. Keep whatever water source you create clean by changing the water frequently.

bird at birdbath
bird at birdbath

Want butterflies? You not only need flowering plants but plants that the caterpillars (that turn into butterflies) feed and larvae grow on. This would mean adding some milkweed, phlox, clover, dill for Black Swallowtails and Monarchs.

butterfly
butterfly

Your home, and your garden, whether in the country or town can benefit from being a source for wildlife. Just imagine sitting outside watching the birds, butterflies and squirrels. It’s just a part of outdoor life and something we should all strive to accomplish as nature is needed. In every moment in nature we receive far more than we seek.

deer
deer