Wild Yards

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!

  • Falling Into Winter
    Just because the temperatures are dropping and our summer plants are going dormant doesn’t mean there isn’t still work to do! Today, Cody highlights some tasks you can undertake now to save you time in the garden next spring.
  • In Defense of The Monarch Butterfly
    Seen any Monarch butterflies lately? As an endangered species, we need to care for them. But there’s more to it than just planting more milkweed.
  • A Beginner’s Look at Japanese Gardening
    Japanese gardens have a style and feel all their own. Cody takes a look at some of the different concepts he works with in our Japanese-themed Island Garden. Have you noticed any of these when you’ve visited?
  • Family-friendly Sensory Gardens
    Sensory gardens engage and excite the senses; they can be large or small, and can be created for kids and adults of all ages to enjoy.
  • Setting Fire To Burning Bush
    Invasive species are everywhere! Today, Cody helps you identify them in your environment and studies why they are deemed invasive.

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2 thoughts on “Wild Yards

  1. Goodness, most of our landscapes are wild because they are beyond reach. We maintain what we can at ground level, but the redwoods are hundreds of feet up. We could not do much with them if we wanted to. We can only have them groomed to eliminate some of the structurally compromised limbs. The forest dictates what we can do within the landscapes.

  2. Pingback: Wild Yards: Foodies R Us « Wellfield Botanic Gardens

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