Your landscape IS an ecosystem, and it behaves like an ecosystem, whether you think about your piece of paradise in such terms or not. Most gardening problems/difficulties and hard work stem from not understanding or downright ignoring this fact. Want a “low maintenance” landscape? Thinking about your garden as a habitat might help.
A LOT of things have been written on the topic of why you want to encourage or attract wildlife to the yard. Everything from expanding urbanization and reduced natural habitat, to decreasing biodiversity and increasing spread of exotic aggressive species, to name a few reasons. For Wellfield, the “wildlife” around us becomes key to an organically preferred approach: protecting Elkhart’s drinking water (you do know Wellfield’s relationship to Elkhart’s water supply, right?). We rely on the balancing and resilient effects of ecosystems to hold many things in check, thus reducing our dependence on expensive fertilizer or plant health control measures.
There are four essential ingredients to making habitat work for you:
- Diverse food sources
- Diverse water sources
- Diverse shelter types(a place to hide)
- Diverse locations to raise some babies
You probably can guess what the keyword might be. Yep, that is right: “diverse”. It is not enough just to put out a birdbath and check off “water source”. Not everything is going to visit the perch. Different organisms obtain moisture from different sources. If you plant a lot of different species, native especially, of various sizes, textures, root types, and plant them in layers, you are doing much already to provide these four elements.
In the coming weeks, we will take up each of these essential ingredients and examine them in turn.
Wildlife is already present outside your windows, whether you want them or not. You can either partner with them to create some win-win relationships, or you can spend a lot of time, energy and cash to banish them to your neighbor’s kingdom.
Josh Steffen, Horticulture and Facilities Manager
Miss any of Josh and his team’s latest posts? Click below to see what you’ve missed!
- Good Guy or Bad Guy?Gardening is, for the most part, an enjoyable activity. But with the good comes the bad, and today, Cody looks at some of our favorite “pests” and what benefits they have for any landscape. Continue reading
- Gardening for Birds and Insects – Fall/Winter PlanningAs you’re cleaning up your landscape in preparation for the winter months, Horticulturalist Mary Wojcik offers some tips on what to do to help protect all the birds and the bees. Continue reading
- Magnificent MushroomsHave you ever considered the soil beneath your feet? What is going on there? Horticulturalist Patrick Weaver talks today about the power of mushrooms and mycelium. Continue reading
- Lollipops for trees?Horticulture and Facilities Manager Amy Myers and her staff have been busy tending to our trees lately; if you’ve visited, you’ve likely seen our “lollipops” – what the heck are they? Read on to find out what is going on! Continue reading
- Home-Grown OrnamentalsAs we transition into fall, our horticulture staff is exploring some common native plants you can look for during your next visit to Wellfield and consider adding to your own landscape. Continue reading
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