It's nearly the end of winter—what are your plans for your garden in the spring? Many people love to pore over seed catalogs and plan out new flower beds, and that can while away many a snowy day indoors. This spring, why not figure your wild neighbours into your outdoor plans and create a wildlife garden? Here's ten tips to make your garden more wildlife friendly this season.
1. Plant lots of colourful, scented flowers. When you include lots of these in your flowerbeds, you might just see butterflies and hummingbirds coming to take advantage of the nectar.
2. Include areas of shrubbery and low bushes to make homes for birds and small animals. Thicker varieties will provide berries that attract songbirds like cardinals and finches.
3. Consider putting in a pond or water feature to attract animals and birds. Many people remember to put out a bird feeder or food for the squirrels, but water is just as important of a habitat feature as food. If you have a bird bath, make sure to keep the water moving in some way to prevent mosquitoes breeding.
4. If you put in a pond, make sure to include lots of water plants. This attracts certain insects that frogs, turtles and any fish you put in will eat. Plus, water plants like locus flowers, water hyacinths and lilies will also oxygenate the pond.
5. Consider including a bird house or butterfly house in your garden. It can be a fun winter project for the kids to paint one of these houses. You just might be surprised come spring when a bird or butterfly moves in.
6. Make sure to plant flowers that will sustain the birds and animals throughout all seasons.
7. As well as helping the environment, compost heaps also feed animals like hedgehogs, squirrels, and raccoons. Just keep them far away from your house.
8. Include a rock pile by a pond or water feature for frogs and turtles to hide in.
9. Remember, when you're planting for butterflies, you'll want to make sure to plant flowers that will sustain the caterpillars, as well.
10. Lastly, don't ever spray pesticides or other herbicides in your garden. Organic gardening will ensure that your wildlife is healthy—and your flowers will be prettier, too.