The birds and the bees and butterflies too!

nestCommuning with nature is a great way to spend the evening after a long day of hard work and relax. The best gardens are those that are wildlife friendly! Here are a few tips to make your landscape a more welcoming environment. Birds of all species need various nesting sites. It’s good to have a variety of trees, shrubs and evergreens. Even an old dead tree can fit into your landscape to invite woodpeckers and nuthatches to nest. Butterflies need nectar sources, host sources (for the caterpillars) and shelter. And all living beings need water, a great way to attract more wildlife is to include a water source.

Here’s small list of plants to entice the birds, bees and butterflies!

Trees and shrubs for birds:
Serviceberry (amelanchier)-the birds love to gobble up the berries in the spring!
Hawthorn (crataegus)-great protective tree for nesting and produces berries for a food source.
Colorado Spruce or Norway Spruce (picea)-A great protective nesting site for birds (as with most other evergreens).
Red/Black Chokeberry (aronia)-another great food source for birds.

Butterfly garden plants:
Yarrow (achillea)
Columbine (aquilegia)
False Indigo (baptisia)
Butterfly Bush (buddleia)
Tickseed (coreopsis)
Coneflowers (echinacea)
Bee Balm (monarda)
Goldenrod (solidago)

A small pond or fountain makes a great open water source.

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The dwarf misconception…

Many times people plant a dwarf form of a plant thinking it will remain the size it was purchased at. This is ultimately the misconception of what the term dwarf really means. “Dwarf” is a relative term, not an absolute. Its meaning: a plant much smaller than the average of its kind or species. Dwarf species often grow much slower than the parent species and ultimately have a smaller mature size compared the parent plant.

We often see homeowners planting a “dwarf” plant a few feet from the house, which will easily outgrow the space at maturity. If you are designing your landscape be sure to research, read the labels or ask a professional about your selections. Use the mature size of the plant when planning and space them according to how big it will eventually be, not how big it is now. As your plants mature they will soon fill in the spaces in between. Otherwise you’ll be constantly pruning your plants to “stay” in their place. By being proactive and informed you will have a much nicer and healthier landscape to enjoy (instead of constantly working to maintain it!).

A few common dwarf plants and their mature size:

Dwarf burning bush: mature size 9-11’ (want something smaller, try Rudy Haag: 3-5’ or Little Moses: 2-3’)
Dwarf Korean lilac: mature size 4-5’
Allenman’s dwarf red dogwood: mature size 4-5’
Dwarf fothergilla: mature size 2-3’
Dwarf Pee Wee Oakleaf hydrangea: mature size 3-4’

Van Zelst, Inc.
Dwarf burning bush

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