Gardeners love the creatures that inhabit their backyard worlds almost as much as they love their plants. And with the issue of climate change and loss of natural habitat now right at our doorstep, it has never been a more critical time to do what we can to support birds and pollinators in our cultivated landscapes. There are many plant options and steps we can take that will attract and nurture our winged friends in their search for food, water, nesting materials, and refuges in our gardens.
Choosing plants that can serve as food at various times of year, and for different stages of wildlife cycles, is a key ingredient to a bird- and pollinator-friendly garden. When making selections do not only consider attributes that you like, but choose qualities that are important to wildlife as food in the form of foliage for butterfly caterpillars, flowers for bees, and berries for birds.
Taking steps to provide water and manage pest and diseases in a way that will not harm innocent creatures or the environment is an important consideration too. The introduction of even the smallest water features, such as a bird bath or tabletop fountain, helps to support the creatures who visit our gardens. At the same time, applying nontoxic disease-control methods, such as growing disease-resistant varieties of plants, keeps all visitors in the garden safe. By working toward the goal of creating backyard habitats that benefit everyone, people and wildlife, we can establish outdoor spaces that are beautiful and that contribute to the sustainability of the natural environment and of the animals that depend on these spaces.