That's right. May is garden for wildlife month. The National Wildlife Federation is celebrating this concept by encouraging you to get your garden certified as wildlife habitat! http://bit.ly/in5jp1 Its not complicated, just a checklist. Do you have a place for birds to drink water and not be harrassed by cats? Check. Do you provide food to wildlife by planting trees, shrubs, and perennials that produce seeds, fruits, and berries? Check. Does your garden have areas where wildlife can find shelter and build nests? Check. Is your garden earth friendly? i.e. Do you make compost, avoid using chemicals, limit your turfgrass area, and use mulch to reduce watering needs? Check. If you were also checking these off as I went along, you should sign up your garden today!
Doesn’t it feel good to plant natives in the spring, and watch resulting wildlife visit your garden to eat, pollinate, or reproduce? OK…maybe not deer chomping on newly planted tulips, but caterpillars on leaves? Butterflies on flowers? Birds nibbling on mature seeds? Personally, I tolerate insect damage in my garden very well. I dont care if there are a few holes in some of the leaves on a plant. Why not? Because I value the contribution each insect makes in the food chain. Every protein filled caterpillar helps sustain a bird for a day...which is why we need our native plants serving as host plants for native insects. Healthy populations of native insects lead to healthy populations of mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians, etc...quite frankly the entire food chain!
As gardeners we do good by planting green things and by voting with our dollars. Every plant in the ground makes more fresh air for us to breathe. Careful selection at the local garden center can result in more earth friendly purchases or help an important cause like the National Wildlife Federation, http://bit.ly/irkqOq. Check out the native plants from American Beauties to accent your garden and provide food for wildlife!