Winter Resolutions in Your Wildlife Garden

Leucothoe leaves in iceWinter is one of my favorite seasons in the garden. The garden has been put to bed and about all I can do is sit back and enjoy my garden. I spend a lot of time during the winter observing my garden and reflecting on what worked and what didn’t.

Winter is for planning and making some resolutions for what you’re going to do next season in your habitat garden.

Creating a wildlife garden is a process, it’s not one specific event. And it’s never too late to begin the journey. While it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re just starting out, it’s important to remember to just take one step at a time. Perhaps start by spending some time this winter choosing the best plants for your wildlife garden.

Setting Goals

For my garden, I’ve set some specific goals to continue creating wildlife habitat.

Cornus floridaNo. 1  ~ Plant more native understory trees.

I’m blessed (or cursed depending on the volume of acorns in any given year) to have many mature native oak trees on my property. But what I don’t have are a lot of native understory trees.

One goal for my garden is to plant at least one more native tree, possibly a Winter King hawthorn (Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’) or another flowering dogwood (Cornus florida).

Like every garden, my wildlife garden is always changing. While it was heartbreaking to lose several trees last year, it’s also an opportunity to plant a tree — a welcome responsibility that doesn’t come along every day.

 

No. 2 ~ Create more butterfly habitat

Amelanchier canadensis

Serviceberry flowers

Each year, I try to plant some larval host plants, such as milkweed. It’s only been a few short years since I’ve had butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) in my garden and I’m already seeing monarch butterfly caterpillars.

When you’re planning a butterfly garden, it is important to plant not only nectar plants but also larval host plants so butterflies can live their entire life cycle within your garden.

While I’m at it, I also plan to plant more native shrubs with berries, perhaps a serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) or a spicebush (Lindera benzoin).  Right now, I’m leaning towards a grouping  of 3 – 5 serviceberry shrubs in a semi-shady corner of my garden but who knows what while happen after a winter of planning.

 

Water feature from Campania.com

Fountain Photo © Campania

No. 3  ~ Add more water for wildlife.

Wildlife need water but, for some reason, many gardeners don’t offer enough water options in their gardens for wildlife. Water can be an elemental feature of any size garden. You don’t need a large garden to have a water feature that will benefit wildlife.

In my garden, I don’t have the space to create a pond for wildlife, but that doesn’t mean I can’t provide some sources for water. I do have room for a  few more bird baths or a water ornament with features like a mister, or a gentle bubbling fountain that birds will enjoy.

What resolutions have you made for your wildlife garden in the coming year?

© 2012 – 2013, Debbie Roberts. All rights reserved. This article is the property of Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.

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Comments

  1. says

    What wonderful resolutions, Debbie! I call winter “The Dreaming Season” when I can take some time to dream about what I’d like to add to my wildlife garden in the coming spring and how to give more back to wildlife. I’m jealous your trees are oaks. I’m surrounded by Norway Maples, and spend way too much time in the spring pulling out the thousands of seedlings that poke up then.
    Carole Sevilla Brown recently posted..The Holiday Wildlife Garden

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  1. [...] Winter is one of my favorite seasons in the garden. Thegarden has been put to bed and about all I can do is sit back and enjoy my garden. I spend a lot of time during the winter observing my garden and reflecting on what worked and what didn’t. Winter is for planning and making some resolutions for what you’re going to do next season in your habitat garden. Creating a wildlife garden is a process, it’s not one specific event. And it’s never too late to begin the journey. While it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re just starting out, it’s important to remember to just take one step at a time. Perhaps start by spending some time this winter choosing the best plants for your wildlife garden.For my garden, I’ve set some specific goals to continue creating wildlife habitat:-  [...]

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