Would you like to add movement and life to your garden and at the same time benefit the environment? Why not build a wildlife habitat in your front or back yard? Yeah, I know what you’re thinking; do I really want all those pesky animals in my yard? Birds eating my fruit, squirrels digging up my container gardens and oh! The insect invasion! But the truth be known, once a wildlife habitat establishes itself, all these problems will disappear in the wink of an eye.
It’s all about balance and using nature to create a setting that will attract beneficial wildlife to your yard. And that’s the keyword: beneficial. Beneficial to you by creating a relaxing place to enjoy your new found friends; beneficial to the environment by reducing pesticide and herbicide chemical usage; and beneficial to the wildlife you’ll be attracting by giving them a place to call home.
Yeah, if you plant a fruit tree you will have plenty of birds around come harvest time. But what you really need is for them to be around all year with a consistent food source so when harvest time does roll around they’ll be happy and content with the other edible plant material you’ve planted. Some great sources for seeds and berries are Eschscholzia californica (California poppy), Coreopsis sp. (Tickseed), Helianthus (Sunflower), Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon grape), Rhamnus californica (California coffeeberry), Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon), and Malus sp. (Crabapple). For hummingbirds plant Salvia sp. (Sage), Kniphofia sp. ( Red hot poker), Fuschia sp. (Fuschia), Abelia x grandiflora (Abelia), and Arbutus unedo (Strawberry tree). Birds will also work as a natural pesticide as they eat an enormous amount of insects especially when they are feeding their young.
Water & Shelter
Don’t forget to provide them with a little bit of water; a birdbath, a shallow dish; something for them to bathe in, drink from and keep cool in on those hot summer days. Just remember to place your water source at least six feet away from any good hiding place a predator might use and keep that water fresh and clean every few days.
Put out the welcome mat. Birds also require shelter. Shelter from the elements and shelter from predators; so, hang some birdhouses, build nesting boxes, even brush piles will create a safe place they can call home.
This is just the beginning of creating your wildlife oasis. There are countless more aspects to creating an environmentally friendly garden; come into Alden Lane and about attracting and nurturing beneficial insects, and mulching.