Garden with Purpose -- #Garden4Wildlife

A lot of our community members love to garden with a purpose — growing herbs to add pizzazz to a pasta dish, or growing tomatoes to make salsa or sauces. Other members talk about growing pollinator plants to help bee populations (and the food chain). But have you thought about gardening to build a wildlife habitat?

We’ve partnered with the National Wildlife Federation to spread the message about their Garden for Wildlife program. You can turn a small area into a place where butterflies and other wildlife thrives.

To create a sustainable garden for wildlife, include food (leaves, berries, seed), a water source, shelter, and a place to raise young. You can restore habitat no matter where you live — creating a space on a small patio or balcony or across a sprawling acre. Check out these Certified Wildlife Habitats for the inspiration of what you can do in your space.

What does “sustainable garden” mean? To best provide a home for wildlife, remove invasive, non-native plants. Plant natives. Do not use chemical pesticides. Conserve water.

How do I provide shelter? Wildlife needs a place to hide from predators, people, or weather. You can provide natural shelter naturally with a branch or shrub. Or build a shelter, e.g. rock pile or wall, bird house, bat house

How can I provide a place to raise young? Wildlife needs to reproduce to survive. Mature trees and shrubs provide for birds. Plant a host plant for caterpillars.

Do I need abirdbath to provide water? Not necessarily. Yes, wildlife needs clean water to drink and bath. Natural elements like streams or ponds are great, but even a small container on a patio works. But you need to maintain it — make sure there’s fresh rainwater, or switch out the water every few days.

What food do I need to provide?  The following types of plants are great food sources: seeds from plants, berries, twigs and leaves, and pollen.

Learn more about the components and how you can certify your garden on the National Wildlife Federation Garden for Wildlife website.

And add photos of your plants providing food, shelter, and a place to raise young to GrowIt! with the #Garden4Wildlife.