Thursday, April 19, 2012

May 2012 is Garden for Wildlife Month

The rains in North Texas this spring have done more than just refill the area lakes. They have also sustained lush spring growth that has supported a great crop of butterflies. (There are nine butterflies of at least 6 different species in this photo that I took last weekend of a purple flowering wallflower in my yard. Click the image to see a larger view.) If butterflies haven’t made it to your garden yet, you might want to consider ways to make your outdoor spaces more attractive to wildlife.

Because May has been designated as Garden for Wildlife Month, hopefully you will be seeing more information in the news about how to go about this soon. The basic needs of wildlife are the same as ours, food, water and shelter. Adding these elements for the wildlife that you want to attract, such as butterflies or birds, will create an attractive area for them and in turn they will enhance the attractiveness of your yard. You will find tips for upgrading the wildlife friendliness of your yard that would allow you to certify it as Wildlife Habitat from the National Wildlife Federation. If you are local and want some hands on help adding these elements to your yard, consider contacting me about my garden coaching services. I will be at the Downtown Arlington Farmer’s Market on Saturday, April 21 & 28 from 8 am – 1 pm with native and adapted plants, many of which attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Some elements that you might not have considered adding that will help attract insect eating birds are a variety of perches on which they can rest and survey your yard for a grasshopper or other tasty insect treat. Birds that fit this description that I have found perching on my fencing, trees and garden art and then swooping down on their prey are scissortail flycatchers, western and eastern kingbirds, bluebirds and shrikes. I’ve even had a red shouldered hawk, looking for rodents, perch on a metal obelisk in my garden. There are a variety of additions to your outdoor spaces that will attract wildlife. If you have been thinking about doing this, let Garden for Wildlife Month be the catalyst that gets you going on your project.

If you already have wildlife in your backyard, share a link to a photo of yours in the comments section of this post.

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