I’ve been getting asked with greater frequency why my own garden is not featured in the Ecosystem Gardening Showcase.

This is a difficult question for me to answer for personal reasons, but I’m going to fill you all in here instead of answering this individually in your emails.

Several years ago I was injured in a car accident which has left me with some lingering physical issues that make it difficult to maintain my garden as I had become used to. If you want to know the whole story, you can read about A Man Named Earl, where I’ve talked about it.

For our purposes here, the simplest way to put it is that my garden is a mess. I’ve got Lesser Celandine pressing in from one side, Norway Maples shading out the other side, English Ivy everywhere, and Bishop Weed taking over the front.

In a word, my garden is not a shining example right now of what an Ecosystem Garden can look like, and I was afraid you’d think that wildlife gardens are nothing by an overgrown ugly mess.

That’s why I’ve shown you Helen Yoest‘s beautiful waterwise wildlife garden, and Ellen Sousa‘s amazing garden (I have barn envy), Cindy Ahern‘s bird and wildlife filled garden, Evelyn Lovitz‘s stunning wildlife garden and all the others in the showcase.

But most of the wildlife photos that illustrate these pages are taken in my own garden. Despite the out of control aspects of my garden, the birds, butterflies, and other wildlife continue to make their homes in my garden.

I had someone tell me recently that unless you are financially well off, you can’t expect to be able to have the kind of gardens that I describe here. I don’t think that this is at all true.

I’m far from financially well off right now and I know, as many others also know, that Ecosystem Gardening can save you money:

  • Reduce your lawn. Less mowing means you’re using less gasoline
  • Plant smart. Putting the right plants in the right place, grouping plants together by water needs, and planting more natives helps you save water which also saves money
  • Use natural mulch. Leaf litter contains all of the elements necessary for soil health and feeding your plants. You save by not buying mulch or chemical fertilizers.

The point is you don’t have to redesign your entire garden and spend a lot of money to create an Ecosystem Garden. Every small step that you make for wildlife can make a big difference for wildlife.

When you’re buying a plant to fill that bare spot, think native. Native plants help wildlife.

Hang a hummingbird feeder, and choose plants that hummers can’t resist.

Add one host plant for a butterfly in your area. Also add nectar plants for the adults.

These are little steps that don’t cost a lot that can help the wildlife that is local to your region.

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