To read any page, click and they become very large.
To landscape in a way that attracts wildlife, think the obvious. Think like a BIRD! We all need the basics of life, but we all look for that most desirable too. Shelter, food, safety, and a good clean environment are all necessities for us and wildlife. I guess plants too, but when you are low on the food chain, that it a tough one.
Native birds need native plants and insects, just a simple fact. Many of our hybrids are suitable sources for their requirements, and sometimes just so yummy, they will pick them clean in one day’s time, like my Viburnum. Others become winter staples in lean years, like my pear. Probably not the tastiest, but one used almost constantly through the winter. Insects and birds flock to the asters, coneflowers, Rudbeckia, and Monarda from Summer to Fall, but many are improved hybrids. Improved for gardeners with specific landscape needs, such as in my case, small urban gardening.
A healthy mix of natives and hybrids improved for garden use has been a real plus for those of use on tiny urban oasises. It allows us to experience nature without being overrun by plants hard to control in size and vigor. Many call the plants in this garden true natives, but each one is a hybrid, but not all are so far removed from the native parent plant. Winter is a great time to access plants in the garden and cull those not doing a specific and preferred task. I love Tradescantia, but it is a thug and my roses say it has to go.
Insects are as important in the garden as the pretty birds, and are encouraged here as well. I especially like the little predators that eat aphids and slugs.
Others are leafless and naked, but with a touch of snow, new aesthetic life is brought to the garden.
The garden fills with chirps, song and chatter. A good garden satisfies all the senses. And it functions.
Some things are just out of the control of the gardener and designer.
One thing a garden does not ‘need’ is a water feature, but what garden is complete without it? It brings its own kind of joy in those that visit, those that find habitat, and those that contribute to a full realm of the senses. In winter, the ponds can be heated or be built deep enough to keep the wildlife healthy. This winter, think about adding a water feature. My garden had a small pond up to two-year ago, but now it has a small fountain in the same location and birds visit it often.
When winter chills, the birds and other creatures are tested. Many seek shelter and having conifers on your property is just the ticket. Summer nesting boxes help some species of birds as well.
All the winter images were taken around February 12th in my garden, even the ROBIN. The cold winter does have some casualties such as the robin, but it was in the garden feeding on the pear tree just prior to the snow. This post, having current images of the garden, is linked to May Dreams Gardens, Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day and Seepferds Garten.
I am also linking this post to Think Like a Gardener at Gardening Gone Wild. The assignment was to picture the winter garden and tell a story with your camera. I do have a post upcoming much more photographic in nature, but it is not ready for posting. This post for my monthly Niagara Falls Garden Magazine really does “think like a gardener” in the sense that the garden was designed with wildlife in mind.
The winter garden is alive with life, just like in the other three seasons, and to me, that is what makes it successful. The garden is very structured in winter, yet loose and full of color in Summer, ‘a horse of a different color’, so to speak.
No pesticides or herbicides are used in this garden. Sure there are undesirables invading (like poison ivy in the bald cypress in the empty lot behind the garden), but the balance of beneficial insects are there for service in my garden. I am a Master Gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension, and all the useful tips and information comes from their archives and publications. This post cannot possibly show all that is done through the year, but winter is a great time to think about what to do next year.