Spring is the growing season, and while you’re thinking of new plants for your garden, flowerbeds and landscape, why not keep wildlife in mind at the same time? Plants can provide food, shelter, nesting sites, security, water and more not only for birds, but also for all manner of other wildlife we share our spaces with, including bees, butterflies, chipmunks, rabbits, fireflies, salamanders, turtles and tortoises, snakes and more. While we may not initially welcome all of these creatures to our yards, the more diverse our ecosystem, the better it is for all wildlife, including birds.
My landscape, for better or worse, is a realistic blank slate, punctuated with just a few trees and one random scrubby patch. As I plan, I hope to take a number of steps to benefit my local wildlife, including…
- Reducing the overall turf area in my yard
- Adding native, regional shrubs and trees
- Incorporating flowerbeds with wildlife-friendly perennials
- Adding a few containers for fun with annuals
- Structuring a hummingbird garden around my nectar feeders
- Planning a rain garden in poor drainage areas
- Adding more water, hopefully with a waterfall
Along the way, I hope to earn certification from the National Wildlife Federation to designate my yard as wildlife-friendly, as well as a local certification that proves my yard is lagoon-friendly (an issue of grave local concern to protect our waterways). With those certifications come yard signs to help spread the word to neighbors and visitors, and hopefully that will inspire even more people to use wildlife-friendly practices in their yards.
But how to get started? It can be overwhelming, but I’m happy to share a new and amazing resource – Wildlife Gardening: Tips for Four Seasons® from National Wildlife. This 68-page softcover book features all the best tips from the renowned National Wildlife magazine (including two pieces from yours truly – be sure to check pages 26 and 58!). Tips are divided seasonally, and the 19 different articles cover everything from nurturing soil to opting for native plants to providing all sorts of habitat essentials for bees, birds, butterflies and more. No matter where your garden may grow, how big it may be, what season it is or what wildlife you want to share your space with, this is a great resource to get you started!
I can’t quite say what my yard will look like in the end, or if there will ever be an end to the wildlife-friendly projects I have in mind, as this will be an ongoing evolution as the yard progresses. But getting the proper start and having good guidance is essential, so it won’t be necessary to rip out plants and redo plans later (I’m a do-it-right-the-first-time kind of gal). This exclusive book is one resource for that guidance, and I hope to bring you more options, as well as my own wildlife gardening adventures and misadventures, in the years to come. Let’s dig in!