Birds, Bees, and Butterflies

The first Spring in our new house was spent figuring out where we wanted things and tackling the things we didn’t – I battled sticker bushes and morning glory, we moved garden beds, and got a patio poured. This year all that hard work started coming together. I planted vegetables, we got patio furniture, and got some flower beds organized – but like all good library nerds I had to do research first.

I’ve always wanted my yard to be habitat friendly so when I weeded I didn’t just take out everything that’s considered a weed. I kept clover and bachelor’s button despite their bad reputation. I also let things happen naturally with random plants that popped up on their own like lupine, hyacinths, daffodils, and a calla lilly! We added lavender, rosemary, borage, and mint for bees. I also, made little rain gardens and added bird feeders and from last year we have foxgloves and crocosmia for the hummingbirds.

I’ve seen so much new wildlife come into our yard lately; looking forward to what each year brings! Here are a few books in our collection that helped me out:

Gardening for Butterflies: How You Can Attract and Protect Beautiful, Beneficial Insects by The Xerces Society – This covered so much material and really had me thinking about what we often consider weeds are actually some of the best plants for butterflies and insects. It has lists on what works in our region and then even breaks it down plant by plant with pictures!

Nature Play at Home: Creating Outdoor Spaces That Connect Children With the Natural World by Nancy Striniste – focuses more on the childhood aspect of the yard and green spaces, but also covers native species. If children are going to be the ones inheriting this world then starting them young with an understanding of how our plant environment works and teaching them to not fear bees, birds, and bugs can only benefit them. Love the spaces this book creates and look forward to using this book in the future.

National Wildlife Federation: Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife by David Mizejewski – updated this year and while small at 168 pages it is mighty content wise. Offers a great overview for beginners and has projects that homeowners can do to create habitat. Also, they focus not just on planting during spring, but also ideas for all year around habitat, long term food resources, and water access.

~posted by Kara P.

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