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Simple tricks to attract birds and butterflies to your garden

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Butterfly Gardening

Gardens have long been prized for their flower forms, colors and textures, but maybe this year you should consider adding another dimension: wildlife, in the forms of birds and butterflies.

In order to thrive in your landscape, both birds and butterflies need food, water, shelter and protection from predators. Provide these, and you’ll be rewarded with many benefits, including increased wildlife, insect control, increased pollination for better blooms and more abundant crops.

First, make a landscaping plan that includes a diverse variety of trees, shrubs, and flowers. These can provide natural food sources that wildlife can access all year long, as well as winter protection and places they can hide from predators.

Depending on the type of birds you’d like to attract, add bird feeders, nesting boxes and plants for protective nesting sites. Fountains and birdbaths are excellent water sources. A good landscaping plan will create a beautiful, natural setting that is as pleasing to birds as it is to your human visitors.

Butterflies are a diverse group, and among the most delicate and colourful creatures you’re likely to see. Unfortunately, many species have been sacrificed in the name of progress. Building new homes and business infringes on their natural habitat, and removes many of the plants that they use for food, in both the larva and adult stages. Choosing plants that provide food for caterpillars early in the season, and nectar-rich blooms late in the season will ensure a steady supply of nutrition to these fascinating flutterers.

Different species of caterpillars are attracted to different host plants, but many native trees such as cherry, willow, oak, poplar and hawthorn, and many other plants including perennial herbs, will serve nicely. Since chewed leaves might be unsightly, you could plant your host plants out of the way, but still close enough to the nectar-rich flowers the emerging adult butterflies will easily find. Butterflies like bright, fragrant flowers – lilies, iris, daylilies, phlox, butterfly weed, asters and purple coneflower (echinacea), among others.

One last thought: Following a good landscaping plan that adds beauty and increases wildlife will also likely increase the value of your property – the most attractive aspect of all!

 

 

About Mary Pat

Mary Pat has written 23 post in this blog.

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July 30, 2013
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