By Marianne Tompkins, Organic Landscape Consultant
Commercial construction and development can cause loss of habitat, and native species of wildlife and plants are facing warmer temperatures due to climate change. Some states no longer have a favorable climate for their official State tree or flower. But there is hope, and we are the solution! We ALL need to do something right now to make a difference, no matter how big or small.
Gardeners play an important role in creating habitat, and reducing climate change. Conservation practices are not new to gardeners, but they are made ever more important now given the threat of climate change. Aside from reducing water consumption, saying NO to pesticides and chemicals, and trading in your SUV for some rain barrels, you can create an oasis that takes care of our fragile environment. It is fine if all you have is a deck on your apartment. Container gardening is a suitable substitute for small spaces.
Do not be afraid to have a messy yard! Perfection is the enemy of wildlife. Pollinators such as ground bees like plain, dry dirt that is not mulched or fertilized, so leave them a patch to call home. Dandelions are often the first pollen and nectar rich food source for bees. Each yellow head contains around 100 individual flowers, meaning bees, butterflies, and hoverflies flock to them for a feast. If you want to become a beekeeper it’s simple, or want more information on our beneficial bees, then check out this website from Crown Bees http://crownbees.com. Birds need places to nest and hide, so let your shrubs and trees be naturally shaped, just make sure they have room to grow where planted without being regularly pruned. Get some exercise and mulch mow with a good ole reel mower your grandparents used to use—no gas, no fumes, and no noise! Native plants are not only sustainable for bees, but they attract different bird species to your garden. A wonderful website; http://audubon.org/native-plants. Just pop in your zip code, and it gives you the best native plants for your area that will provide food and habitat for our bird friends. Healthy fact: watching and listening to birds is proven to calm and bring down blood pressure in humans!
Children need to play outside, and connect with wildlife. Digging in the dirt and creating habitat for wildlife strengthens our children’s growth. Let us not forget the essentials of what nature teaches our children (and adults); respect, compassion, nurturing and peace to name a few. Nature is a gift for young and old, and what an awesome honor to be stewards of this gift.
Thank you for being part of the solution!
Photos by Marianne Tompkins