Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spring Calls for New Projects

After writing about hedgerows, native plants, birds, bees, butterflies and the like, I've decided to put my money where my sore knees will be and turn our yard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat. A naturalist-gardener friend of mine, Frederique Lavoipierre, gave me the idea and steered me to The National Wildlife Organization, which sponsors the official backyard certification program. Since I'm not much for garden or yard organizing, I figured this would be as good a way as any to structure my wanton, gone-to-seed-and-weeds backyard. And harbor a few critters along the way. And this is part of the point of the project, to integrate way stations and habitats throughout our land for critters, rather than relegating them to the diminishing wildlands and the scattered, insufficient nature preserves. I want to do my part because without insect or critter scurrying, bird songs or butterfly dances, our place seems sterile and barren. Eerie, too.

So I cruised and found it's not really all that difficult, to wit:

All you need to do is provide elements from each of the following areas:

  • Food Sources. For example: Native plants, seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, nectar
  • Water Sources. For example: Birdbath, pond, water garden, stream
  • Places for Cover. For example: Thicket, rockpile, birdhouse
  • Places to Raise Young. For example: Dense shrubs, vegetation, nesting box, pond
  • Sustainable Gardening. For example: Mulch, compost, rain garden, chemical-free fertilizer
(excerpt taken from
(link to it from title of this post)

Some of the steps I've already put into practice. I've done my hippie best to avoid all chemical additives, to the point that our lawns were more like weed-patches--and not that kind of weed, either. I've used compost and mulched like crazy. Last summer, we nuked our front lawn by sheet mulching it, letting it RIP under thick layers of newspapers and wood chips. I don't intend to reseed with water-greedy grasses. To encourage bird and butterfly life, I've planted a few sorts of bushes and flowers they like (mallow, penstamen, lavender, salvias) and kept two bird feeders going. Newts and salamanders have benefited by my lax and lazy gardening; I spy them under damp leaves and overgrown bushes.

So I really only need to provide a water source, some shelters and more places to raise young. And up my use of native plant species. I can probably do all that this spring. Then we'll see how many creatures take me up on my welcome mat. I'll even leave the porch light on--for the bugs.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Noise makers!