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!

  • Indoor Oasis
    Cody tells us about how his love of house plants lead him to a career choice, and how too much love can sometimes be a bad thing when it comes to plants! Continue reading
  • Plant Diagnostics
    The plants are in the ground, they are growing and blooming, but now comes the challenge: diagnosing issues some of our plants are having. Here’s what our horticulture team does when they can’t solve the problem themselves. Continue reading
  • Plants Tammy Has Not Seen Before
    Our horticulturalist, Tammy, took a cool field trip to a local nursery and picked up some interesting plants to display in our Sensory Garden. Continue reading
  • Another Kind of Burning Bush
    Peppers are a really popular plant to grow; there are so many varieties to choose from. Lead Horticulturalist Cody tells us about some of his favorites. Continue reading
  • Four Winds
    Elkhart is home to so many great organizations that make the city the vibrant community it is. Wellfield is so lucky to work with one of them: Four Winds Garden Club. Continue reading

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2 comments

  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.

    Liked by 1 person

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


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