Last year I planted a Cow Parsnip (a native) in my rain garden. It had already bloomed for the year, so I didn’t really appreciate how big it could get. Well, now that it is a new year I can see- it is the huge plant shown above with the large white flower umbrella tops.
How much wildlife can one huge native plant attract? Since the flowers are so large and numerous, an incredible variety of pollinators visited.
Honey Bees have been regular visitors, and that’s what most people usually expect to see. But there are other important pollinators out there.
Flies! Believe it or not, flies are actually very important pollinators as well. I got very close and could see their siphons drinking up nectar in the flowers.
Pollinators weren’t the only ones attracted to the flowers though. Predators followed close behind. I saw several spiders crawling around- some like the one shown above, and some were crab spiders that blended with the white flowers.
Hunting on the stalks were quite a few Western Blood-red Ladybird Beetles. They were eating the aphids that were drinking out of some of the plant stalks.
Even at the bottom of the Cow Parsnip is evidence of animal life. See the strips of skin that have been peeled away?
This one native plant has added a nice variety of wildlife to my yard. So if you’re struggling with how to begin growing your own wildlife garden, it’s OK to start small. Try planting just one plant that can support wildlife and watch what comes to visit. I promise you that it won’t take long for you to be hooked and looking for new places in your yard to add more habitat.
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