Help welcome pollinators and other wildlife into your garden and support them with a needed habitat. These animals play a critical role in our own survival, from pollinators that help provide fruits and vegetables to cavity-nesting birds that help keep mice and insects under control. Your design can be simple and suited to your lifestyle, budget, or space. A successful garden for wildlife requires four fundamental resources: food, water sources, shelter, and nesting areas.
Provide food by planting a variety of native perennials, vines, shrubs, and trees. Include a variety of flower colours, shapes, and bloom times. This helps support a greater diversity of wildlife. Plant flowers that provide berries, seeds, and nectar as a natural food source. The insects that these plants attract act as another food source for wildlife. If placing bird feeders in the winter, remember that birds require different kinds of nutrients. Research the birds in your area and provide them with a seed blend that meets their needs.
Provide water by adding a birdbath, placing a shallow bowl of water at ground level, or adding a sprinkler. If you have the space, try incorporating a pond for wildlife like fish, frogs, and birds. Ensure the water source you provide is always clean. This will reduce the chance of any bacteria formation and will reduce the opportunity for any insects like mosquitos to mature.
Provide natural shelter for small wildlife by planting in layers (plants of varying height) or leaving items like leaves and trees. Provide artificial shelters such as birdhouses. Avoid adding a perch to discourage any predatory birds. You can also provide bird roosting boxes which are places for cavity-nesting birds to rest and hide. Their design differs from nesting boxes as they can accommodate several birds at once, and they retain heat more effectively.
These tips come from the Gardening Guide by the Canadian Wildlife Federation. If you are interested in gardening – join the North Bay Heritage Gardeners! New volunteers are always welcome. No gardening experience is required to join. Volunteer Gardener Registration forms for the 2021 gardening season are available for download on our website. Visit our website at https://northbayheritagegardeners.com/volunteers/ for information on becoming a heritage gardener.
Kayla Gervais, Office Administrator
Suite 112-245 Oak St. E.,
North Bay, ON P1B 8P8