Thursday, March 22, 2012

6 tips for Starting a Wildlife Garden

Now is a great time to start planning your garden and making additions. While you are in the planning stage consider starting a wildlife garden. Have you wanted to see more birds and butterflies in your yard year-round but don’t want to spend a lot of cash? Here are some tips on how to get started with out breaking the bank.

I developed my wildlife habitat over many years having to start with a nearly blank slate. Only 2 pine trees, one spindly oak tree were left by the builder and a large area of newly planted grass. Not much in the way of food, water or shelter for birds, butterflies or other wildlife in the yard. I started planting trees and shrubs adding feeders and nesting boxes all at once when I moved in but you can start on a smaller scale for a lot less money.

1. If your not sure this type of gardening is for you start small by planting a container garden filled with nectar-rich plants like lantana, floss flower and fuchsia. Then later you can add plants to your landscape on a larger scale.
2. Birds are attracted to water so build a small size pond using a whiskey barrel or something of similar size. If you can add a bubbler or something else to make movement in the water you will attract more birds. To use as a bird bath you will need to have a shallow area for the birds and a place for them to perch.
3. As you add to your landscape take advantage of late-season sales to acquire perennials, trees and shrubs as a discount price in the fall. Buy and plant wildlife favorites in the fall and you will be able to attract more birds and butterflies for next year.
4. Try and rescue native plants from local construction sites when you see them. Ask the developers if you can remove them before they are bulldozed. They are often happy to oblige. We had a house in Georgia that had plants rescued from a neighboring lot under construction.
5. Avoid insecticides whenever possible. This will allow beneficial insects to your backyard. You may suffer a little more damage in your garden but its worth it when you consider many birds like wrens, bluebirds and robins look at bugs as their favorite food.
6. Save money by not buying seed. Plant your landscape with seed- and berry- bearing plants like sunflowers, viburnums, coneflowers, zinnias, black-eyed Susan’s, blueberries and Cosmos.

Try one or all of these tips and in no time you will be attracting more birds, butterflies and other wildlife to your yard or garden.

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