Welcome to Part 4 of our ongoing series of your best tips for creating a wildlife garden. The series so far:
Today’s tip was submitted by Sherry Lawson, of Sherry Knows Best
I live in a townhouse with a balcony and a front porch that has a teeny piece of ground at the bottom of it, so I needed to think about how to make the most of the little space I had. My solution was lots of flower pots and shepherd hooks. My balcony, which gets sun most of the day, has a small table with two chairs, a smaller table, and a three-tiered plant stand, all that I cover with pots of sun-loving flowers. More potted flowers sit on the floor of the balcony, by the railing. This year I’ve added two patio tomato plants for fun and food. A bird feeder is attached to the railing, and a tiny birdbath sits among the pots.
The covered part of my front porch has hanging baskets filled with shade-loving plants on each side of the door and pots at the top of the stairs filled with impatiens, coleus, creeping Jenny, and some small white-flowering plants that I just discovered this year, and have forgotten the name of at the moment. [Editors note: PLEASE check with your local extension office prior to planting Creeping Jenny, it is listed as invasive in many states]
The lower stairs get some sun, so I have pots filled with petunias, marigolds, sweet alyssum, and ivy there. The tiny piece of ground is filled with different-sized shepherd hooks from which I hang a wild bird feeder, a finch feeder, a hummingbird feeder, a suet house, and a hanging bird bath. Under the feeders, I have three pots filled with flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, such as dahlias petunias, coreopsis, carnations, sweet alyssum, and daisies. A small butterfly bath sits among the pots. [Editors note: learn how to create habitat containers with native plants that provide even more wildlife value]
I have a chipmunk family that burrows next to the porch, and they skitter around eating the fallen seeds and stuffing their cheeks for later. They use my filled watering can as their drink station. My feeders have been visited by doves, many kinds of sparrows, goldfinches, red finches, juncos, and cardinals so far. My hummingbird feeder, which I just hung yesterday, had a new species of bird, that I didn’t recognize, drinking from it this morning. THAT was quite exciting! I can hardly wait to see a hummingbird visit one of these days, since that feeder is a new addition to my garden this year. There are trees and bushes located around my building, offering shelter from the weather and enemies, and nesting sites.
A bird identification manual is a MUST. Mine is called Birds of North America, and it’s VERY old—-but it still works!!!! I haven’t read any other books about wildlife habitats as yet.
I just purchased a new DSLR camera, and will have some pictures available later on. I subscribe to Birds and Blooms and Birds and Blooms Extra magazines, which have beautiful pictures of birds and plants, along with expert advice, a section for photos, questions, and comments from the readers, reports from different areas of the United States, online extras such as wallpaper for your computer, and much, much more.
The National Wildlife federation offers a wonderful magazine with a donation, and has an online newsletter. My garden was just certified as a wildlife habitat by them tonight, and I’ll be receiving a sign to proudly display somewhere among my pots and feeders.
I’ve made a wildlife garden without a yard, and you can, too. Maybe you’ll come up with some new ideas to make the most of what you do have, just like I did. Happy gardening!!!!!
Creating wildlife habitat is possible even if you don’t have a large garden, or no garden at all. What are you doing to create wildlife habitat?
Check out my new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week, teaching you to garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat for wildlife in your garden.
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