…and the bees, and the flowers and the trees.

Ruby=throated Hummingbird

Sorry, that song got stuck in my head when I was thinking about a title, so now you’ll think of me for the rest of the day when you’re humming it :)

Seriously though, my garden really is for the birds. They are the reason that I began to learn how we could use our gardens to help them. I am a birder. Almost nothing makes me happier than to go out into nature, binoculars in hand, to watch my feathered friends. And I am really happy that I can do that in my own backyard.

From these birds, I became fascinated by butterflies, then dragonflies, frogs, toads, salamanders, bees, bats, and even snakes. My garden is completely devoted to them.

What do I mean by that?

It means that every decision I make in my garden is weighed on the continuum of how much it will benefit wildlife. If it does not help the birds and other critters in my garden, I won’t do it.

When I choose plants for my garden, it is because they support wildlife. In fact, the more species of wildlife a plant supports, the more likely I am to choose that plant.

I reject plants that are invasive. These plants have escaped from gardens around the country and are running rampant through natural areas, destroying wildlife habitat in their wake.

I know what a plant is before I purchase it. That means I know for certain that it is appropriate for the conditions in my garden, specifically that it is a wise choice for the spot I intend to plant it.

I no longer, well almost never anyway :) purchase plants on impulse because I’ve been seduced by a pretty face at the garden center.

Robin with nesting material

Our species is very good at taking. We take down a woodland to build another Walmart. We take off mountain tops because it’s cheaper to extract the coal. When it comes to habitat we take and take and take, and then wonder why we don’t see any birds or butterflies anymore.

My garden, and those of every wildlife gardener I know, is about giving back. Giving back my tiny slice of the planet of which I am the steward. Giving back some native plants so that our bees don’t continue to disappear, so that butterflies have someplace to lay their eggs, and so the birds have something to feed their young.

I’m asking you to join me in giving a little back to wildlife. What can you add to your garden this year to give something back?

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