Make like a forest!
When you garden, mimic Mother Nature — she’s a pro.
- Create a brush pile for pollinators and birds.
Find out more about the value of brush piles, and learn how to create one here:
- Leave flower heads and hollow stems intact until spring.
Let the National Audubon Society tell you why messy is better:
To Help Birds This Winter, Go Easy on Fall Yard Work.
- Leave the leaves — use as mulch.
The National Wildlife Federation explains here: Why You Should Leave the Leaves.
- Plant native and densely — create shade and diversity.
From the National Audubon Society: Why Native Plants Are Better for Birds and People. From the US Botanic Garden: National Garden Native Plant Recommendations. And the Patterson Park Audubon Society gives you the Top Ten in native trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, and container plants here:
Top 10 Trees for Your Wildlife Garden.
- Plant in layers — overstory canopy, understory canopy, shrub layer, ground layer. Layers give gardens structure, provide shade, and offer the variety of shelter that birds need. The layers in our park look like this:
Here is another way to provide shelter for birds. We have two birdhouse gourds hanging at the park, and we planted seeds to produce more gourds. The holes are wren sized, and sure enough, wrens are nesting.
- Fertilize with compost and let beneficial insects (and birds) be your pest control.
The National Pesticide Information Center highlights several beneficial insects:
Natural Enemies Quick List. And tells you how to cater to those beneficial insects: Beneficial Insects in the Garden. The National Audubon Society explains how to garden without using fertilizers:
The Hidden Carbon Trap in Your Garden? It’s All About the Soil
- Always have something blooming.
Pollinator Partnership can help you with this. On page 16 of Selecting Plants for Pollinators, you will find a chart that lists plants in our region and the time they are in bloom throughout the growing seasons. Choose a variety of flower colors and make sure something is blooming at all times! Selecting Plants for Pollinators