This week in our “Wild Yards” series, we will be discussing something we have a lot of at Wellfield: water!
Water is essential to garden plants, and it can attract beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife that need a quick sip. It is another important piece of the puzzle if you are trying to push your garden into a welcoming ecosystem. Some people are lucky enough to already have water in the area that they can take advantage of, while others have to add features such as bird baths, ponds, controlling runoff, or have to take topography into consideration.
Water is great for attracting birds, so naturally, a bird bath is an easy choice. Bird baths won’t add much water to the ecosystem, but they can be a good supplement. It’s good to remember to have diversity in water sources. Not all wildlife will benefit from a raised, standing pool of water. Artificial ponds can be created in yards, and even small ponds can be useful for animals. Frogs often show up even in smaller ponds, which can help keep the mosquito population down as well.
One way of making use of water you already have is by controlling the runoff from the roof and any paths in the garden. It can be redirected to water plants that need more moisture, into a pond, or captured in a rain barrel for a drier time of the season. The rainwater can be used as a resource instead of just being seen as a natural phenomenon.
The topography of your yard or garden area will cause water to run toward some areas and away from others. This is useful to take into consideration when you are planting the area. The areas where the water tends to pool will do much better with water loving plants. Areas where water is running away will be great for plants that like a quick soak and the water leaves the area.
Adding water to your garden can be beneficial for your plants and for the wildlife. Hopefully we can all do something to our gardens to make them more wildlife friendly. Do not forget to check back next week to keep up to date with our garden diversity series!
Cody Hoff, Lead Horticulturist