Last week, we kicked off a new series about diversity in your garden, and what the keys are to creating a low maintenance landscape. This week, we look at one of the keys to creating diversity: food.
All living things must have food to survive. The keys to attracting wildlife to your yard are knowledge and variety. Once you decide who you would like to invite into your yard, knowing what they like to eat and offering them a variety of tasty treats will increase the odds they will accept your invitation. I mean, who wants to eat the same thing every day!?
Native plants are a great place to start. They have lived here for thousands of years and have adapted swimmingly to our climate. Therefore, many of the native wildlife in our area have also chosen their favorite native plants upon which to munch. Plants provide a variety of food – from buds to leaves to berries to nuts to nectar! They also attract insects, providing food to certain wildlife looking for protein.
Wellfield offers several gardens showcasing native plants. In our Adventure Path & Children’s Gardens, we leave seed heads on the plants during winter to provide seed for wildlife during those cold winter months as food sources are depleted.
Trees & shrubs will also provide an abundance of leaves, bark, fruits and nuts for wildlife. Even dead trees & fallen branches provide food by attracting insects, mosses and fungi. It is a living snack bar for wildlife in search of a quick treat! The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has a handy chart listing a plethora of trees and shrubs and whether or not they provide a food source.
Of course, you can always supplement with feeders. There are a variety of seeds, nuts, fruits and nectar products to fill a variety of bird and squirrel feeders. The National Audubon Society has a quick list of tips to get you started. Just be aware a delicious buffet can also attract unwanted guests. We recently discovered bandits were depleting our bird feeders within days of filling them! We suspect the culprits are raccoons. Until we can further investigate and adjust our bird feeder setup, we have curbed filling feeders in order to discourage those masked bandits thieving from our feathered friends!
Hopefully this information will get you eager to host some new dinner guests in your own backyard. Next week, we’ll check in with Cody to see how you can provide water to wash it all down.
Tammy Hopkins, Horticulturist
Missed any of our latest posts? Click below to catch up on what you’ve missed:
- Spring’s in Bloom at Wellfield!The Gardens are awakening from their winter’s nap, and we’re seeing lots of blooms coming out! Ariana shows what to look for during your next walk at Wellfield.
- Wellfield Horticulture Staff’s Favorite ThingsYou usually see them with their heads down working, but we thought we’d let our our 2023 Horticulture and Facilities staff introduce themselves!
- Stratification and Scarification: A Seed’s Path to GerminationCan’t get your seeds to germinate? They’re probably just going through something. Today, Kyle talks about stratification and scarification, and what they mean to your seeds.
- Friends of a FeatherWe see lots of native birds at Wellfield – they’re fun to look at, but are they beneficial to your garden?
- The Importance of Dormancy in GardeningDuring these cold months, gardening activities are rather limited and this time of year can be considered to be an off season for gardeners everywhere. But even though it seems like there is not a lot happening, plants are busy maintaining dormancy. This phase is essential for plants to survive and maintain nutrients.
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