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!
- A Thanksgiving message from Eric Garton, Robert and Peggy Weed Executive Director at Wellfield Botanic Gardens:From all of us at Wellfield, we wish you a Thanksgiving of peace, beauty, and gratitude for all that we are fortunate to have. Our appreciation abounds for our Volunteers, Donors, Members, Sponsors, and countless community members who have grown Wellfield to where we are today and whose vision guides us toward even greater impact … Continue reading
- We’re all about the lights!Our horticulture staff is busy, busy, busy these days – you wouldn’t think so, given the weather, but trust us, they are! So, we’ve given them the next couple weeks off from blogging about plants and all things horticulture. But we have something coming up at Wellfield – you may have heard of it? It’s … Continue reading
- What’s New for 2022 – New Plant VarietiesIt’s always fun looking ahead to what plants are trending, to get a different look for your landscape. Today, Mary shares some of her favorite ideas. Continue reading
- Cool Plants, Cool TemperaturesYou may think our growing zone would not support year-round succulents or herbs, but Cody has other opinions. Continue reading
- Even More Magnificent MushroomsPatrick dives deeper into the world of mushrooms and explores John Hopkins psilocybin research; what the current findings may imply for the future of mental health. Continue reading
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