Friday, November 26, 2004

Wildlife Garden Tips

  • Choose species that flower and fruit at different times; with carefully chosen plantings, pollen, nectar, seeds and fruits of one sort or another will always be available.
  • Be sure to include a goodly number of deciduous plants; their yearly abundance of tender new growth and decaying plant parts provide sustenance for many creatures. Many fast growers and abundant fruit-bearers fit in this class.
  • Think insects. Many interesting backyard wildlife species rely heavily or exclusively on insects for food. Begin taking more careful note of them and you will find that insects and other invertebrates themselves can be among the chief delights in the garden. Their beauty and diversity is a never-ending source of wonder and amusement; one Eastern entomologist recorded over 1400 species of insects in his suburban yard! Try using a magnifier.
  • For deeper satisfaction and fewer problems I recommend keeping artificial feeding of wildlife to a minimum; instead, concentrate on working to improve the "carrying capacity" of your domain.
  • Water features are invaluable in wildlife gardens. Also needed are "pioneers" to work with aquatic habitat-gardening. Many fascinating semi-aquatic and aquatic native plants and animals are becoming locally extinct; little is known about them or their culture.
  • Taking notes and making species lists may add to your pleasure and facilitate the sharing of your observations.

Species in each category below are listed in approximate order of flowering:


sun: California poppy, bird's-eye gilia, goldfields, miniature lupine, owl's clover, tidy tips, succulent lupine, grand linanthus, globe gilia

semi-sun: miner's lettuce, Chinese houses, elegant clarkia


sun: Douglas wallflower, purple needlegrass, Ithuriel's spear, coyote mint, dwarf woolly sunflower, naked eriogonum, narrowleaf milkweed, Kellogg's yampah, Chilean aster, California fuchsia, California goldenrod, golden aster

semi-sun: hound's tongue, California toothwort, California strawberry, hummingbird sage, California fescue, Van Houtte's columbine, tiger lily, western columbine

marsh: spikerush, bur-marigold

Shrubs and vines

chaparral currant, California gooseberry, osoberry, California barberry, buckbrush, blue witch, twinberry, pink-flowering currant, brown dogwood, chaparral clematis, sticky monkeyflower, golden currant, California dogwood, California wild rose, California coffeeberry, toyon, western virgin's bower, California blackberry, thimbleberry, coyote brush, hollyleaf cherry, creambush.


arroyo willow, coast live oak, California buckeye, blue elderberry.


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