Build a Habitat for Native Wildlife

Saturday, March 29, 2014 - 11:06pm
In her wise and elegant new book, “Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants,” Dr. Jane Goodall with Gail Hudson, blends her experience in nature with her enthusiasm for botany to give readers a deeper understanding of the world around us. Continuing their exploration here, Dr. Goodall provides ideas and inspiration for what readers can do to get involved in and protect the world of plants.
 
Native wildlife like birds, bees, butterflies and bats promote pollination and can also provide natural pest control by eating insects that are harmful to your garden. Regardless of whether you live in an urban or rural environment, there are steps you can take to make your outdoor space more wildlife friendly.
  • Create spaces that are densely packed with a combination of perennials, shrubs, grasses and trees. If you have limited space, this could take the form of a variety of potted plants of varying heights.
  • Reintroduce indigenous plants and grasses upon which local wildlife can rely. (Avoid invasive non-native species and turf grass.)
  • Plant fruit-bearing shrubs and trees to attract birds.
  • Install a shallow bird bath close to shrubs and provide bird feeders year round.
  • Plant flowers in your yard or window box that attract butterflies. (Indigenous and colorful are good bets.)
  • Plant a variety of native flowers that bloom at different times to attract a steady stream of pollinators like bees.
  • Attract bees by planting large swaths of the same variety and allowing dandelions and white clover to grow.
  • Plant heirloom varieties, which tend to have more pollen and nectar than hybrids.
  • Leave seed heads on annuals, perennials and grasses in the fall for birds to eat.
  • Attract beneficial bugs, such as the praying mantis, by avoiding chemical bug sprays.
  • Certify your habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. For more information visit www.nwf.org.

 

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