CREATE A BACKYARD HABITAT


Thursday, April 4, 2013
The Villadom Times

When thinking about a new landscape, or enhancing the gardens you have, consider adding plants that will bring the natural world into your own environment.

Attracting birds and butterflies for your own enjoyment also adds valuable resources for our fellow life forms. Shrubs like butterfly bushes, honeysuckle bushes, roses, and many annuals will attract anything from hummingbirds to scarlet tanagers and chickadees. By providing food and shelter for these creatures, your garden will come alive in a whole new way. It will be a part of the healthy, natural environment that extends beyond your property.

In addition to the altruistic, adding more interesting plants will increase your own enjoyment of your gardens, frequently year round. For example, red and yellow twig dogwoods, barberry have fall and winter color. Also, evergreens with varied leaf color and texture can bring life to the colder seasons. However, it’s good to keep an open mind. Plants that we might consider weeds are often the most attractive to bees and interesting birds.

The wonderful thing about a garden is that it is a small piece of a larger, intricate ecosystem that brings aesthetic pleasures year round. The challenging thing about a garden is that not all of the elements and creatures within this ecosystem are welcome. Animals like deer, raccoons, or groundhogs can be regarded as adorable or pests depending on where you live. It can be difficult to limit the new attractants to the ones we want, and keep out the mosquitos, ants, mice, etc., that will also find your efforts inviting.

One solution to contain the impact of these pests may be as simple as location. Creating a garden habitat often includes densely placed trees, shrubs and perennials. To deter the wildlife you are attracting from sharing the inside of your home with you, planning this space away from the house is generally a good rule of thumb.

You should also enlist the help of a knowledgeable landscape designer to help you work within nature’s systems to keep your garden healthy and interesting. They will help you to find the right plants to attract the nature you want, while limiting your exposure to the unwanted elements (as much as possible) through plant choices.

Whether you want to welcome all wildlife or just butterflies and hummingbirds, a good designer will first consider your tastes, but also consider your challenges with kids & pets, local wildlife, and the surrounding environment before making recommendations.


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