Why Do it?
- It is fun
- Plant some native plants
- Attract the animals to your yard, like butterflies, frogs, lizards, birds, hummingbirds
- Become nature friendly by gardening with the wildlife in mind, i.e. reducing the use of chemicals
- Get others interested in creating a wildlife habitat
All wildlife needs the basics of food, water, cover and places to raise their young. A wildlife habitat does not mean you have to change your backyard into a conservation area fit for alligators. But by following some simple steps, you can make your yard inviting to butterflies, bees, even hummingbirds.
- Firebush, firespike, pink porterweed are just three favorites of hummingbirds
- Plumbago, milkweed, pentas are visited by butterflies
- Dillweed, parsley, citrus trees are food for the caterpillar stage of the butterflies
- A simple bird feeder will attract birds, black sunflower seeds – red cardinals, cracked corn for mourning doves, quartered apples are loved by mocking birds
- Bees love African Blue Basil and Hyssop
This is really simple, small water features work well and are readily accepted by wildlife
- Bird bath
- Pre-formed Gold fish pond
- Rain garden
Provide Shelter and a place to raise their young
Hiding places are important (think humans, predators, weather)
- Vegetation, – leafy and thorny shrubs are great
- A pile of brush in a corner, some logs or a rock pile
- Trees, we all have our oak trees, for nesting and perching
- Birdhouses or even a roosting box for bats, toad houses
- If you have a pond, you are already providing for many animals like dragonflies and frogs
Be environmentally friendly
- Use mulch – melaleuca or pine bark chips, don’t use cypress mulch! Bald cypresses are being harvested just for mulch!
- Reduce lawn areas – lawn has no value to animals, but needs chemicals, too much water and maintenance
- Minimize outdoor water use by planting native and drought tolerant plants.
- Use rain barrels to collect rainwater
- Use natural fertilizers
- Be aware of the chemicals you are using, don’t use ‘weed and feed’ but rather do spot treatment. Opt for neem oil to fight pests on your plants.
- Educate yourself before killing bugs, they may be the useful kind!