Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Feathers, fur and flights of fancy – May is Garden for Wildlife Month

hatchling1 “Green” gardening and wildlife habitats go hand in hand. Some people learn the pleasures of sharing their gardens with wildlife after they have begun to create a more eco-friendly landscape and the birds, butterflies and other critters just start showing up in the native plants and chemical free, critter safe zone.
Other gardeners make a concerted effort to create habitat for wildlife, which by its nature and definition, results in a more environmentally friendly landscape.
Since May has been designated as Garden for Wildlife Month, now is the perfect time to learn how to make your own landscape more wildlife friendly.
To create a wildlife friendly landscape, a property should provide wildlife with food, water, shelter and places to raise their young. Other sustainable gardening practices which help to create a more environmentally friendly habitat are:
You can learn more about creating wildlife friendly landscapes by visiting some of the links at the bottom of this post.
I would also like to thank Donna Williamson, a fellow wildlife lover who contacted me about the photo I used  of hornworms in a bowl of soapy water as a form of eco-friendly pest control. Donna, author of the book The Virginia Gardener’s Companion, pointed out that hornworms are the caterpillars of the sphinx moth, and instead of disposing of them, another option is just to grow enough plants to share with them! Donna said:
“I wanted to share some info about the sphinx moths/tobacco hornworms - it was disconcerting to see them drowning in a bowl on your blog which I usually enjoy so much and I applaud your effort to get folks to realize the danger of homemade pesticides! I grow lots of tomatoes so the hornworms and I can share, and I also support the wasp predators that lay their eggs in some of the caterpillars.”
Thanks Donna. I really appreciate it when our readers share what they have learned to do around their own eco-friendly gardens.
Now, for more information about creating eco friendly landscapes:
May is Garden for Wildlife Month (NWF website)
10 Tips for Creating a Wildlife Friendly Garden
The Proof is in the Planting
Butterflies help remind us to be good environmental stewards
Eco-friendly gardeners say "Let me tell you about my garden critters"
Gardening for Hummingbirds


  1. Great article! I loved reading about the hornworms because as I was reading along, my first thought was the same- "Those grow into awesome sphinx moths!" I'm going to go buy a couple extra tomato plants for those guys, just in case they show up. Thanks for the suggestion!

    I always advise people to grow extra parsley and dill, too- they get mad when the caterpillars come eat things, but those caterpillars turn into some of the biggest and most beautiful swallowtails! :)

  2. Birds also feed upon tomato hornworms. I once watched Indigo Buntings go back and forth from their nest on the front side of my house to my garden out back where they gathered small tomato hornworms to feed to their chicks.

    If your landscape is suitable for birds to nest, they will take many, but not all, of the caterpillars in the yard. This helps to prevent overpopulations of the insects; otherwise the insects might eat themselves out of house and home!


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