I love the outdoors. I love hiking, backpacking, biking, fishing, skiing, and snowshoeing. One reason I garden is to be outdoors. I started by creating cottage gardens and a kitchen garden. As I weeded or sat on the front porch with a cup of coffee, I noticed the wildlife visiting my gardens. Bees and butterflies. Birds and bats. Deer, rabbits, groundhogs, frogs, turtles, and snakes. I found I was more fascinated by the wildlife in my garden than by the plants I grew. I wanted my garden, my property, to be home for the local wildlife.
My travels introduced me to many different kinds of landscapes and ecosystems and I gained an appreciation for native plants. As I read up on wildlife gardening and native plants, I became fascinated with insects and their roles in the ecosystem. Having bugs in the garden is a good thing, a necessary thing if we want healthy ecosystems and plentiful food. Insects love wildlife gardens.
I am lucky that our 2.5 acres has a variety of natural habitats—open areas, wetlands, and woodlands. All three areas attract all sorts of wildlife, especially the wetland. I could have turned one wetland area into a pond but that would have destroyed a valuable ecosystem. We have a lake across the street so there is open water readily available for local wildlife. Also, a pond requires maintenance and I want low-maintenance gardens. I want to spend my time enjoying the outdoors, not weeding, fertilizing, and deadheading. Since I am just starting on this journey of creating wild gardens, here are the few small steps I took this summer:
I have many ideas on how to enhance my wildlife gardens, but for now, I am simply enjoying being part of the natural world around me.
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