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Despite their bad reputation, snakes can be a gardener's best friend. They will happily take care of insect and rodent pest problems for you free of charge. Garter snakes are considered especially beneficial by many gardeners thanks to their taste for slugs. If you live in an area where poisonous snakes are common, be wary of deliberately attracting snakes to your yard, especially if you have young children or pets.
Toads will especially appreciate a pile of large rocks stacked with plenty of crevices and cavities to provide a cool, safe place to hide from predators and hot summer days. Toads also like to burrow down into soft, moist dirt under logs and boards. You can also purchase a toad house.
A worm tower is a type of in-ground worm farm made from a large piece of plastic piping with holes drilled in the sides. The holes allow worms, worm juice, worm castings, and finished compost to pass easily back and forth between the worm tower and the surrounding soil. Worm towers can save a substantial amount of time and labor for gardeners.
Butterflies are not only beautiful, they also play several important roles in local ecosystems. Many adult butterflies contribute to pollination, while both adults and caterpillars are major food sources for birds and other wildlife. Like all wildlife, butterflies look for three major things when choosing a place to live: Food Water Shelter Unlike most other wildlife, however, butterflies are unusual in that they need two different kinds of food: one type of food for the larval stage (caterpillars) and one type for the adult butterflies.
Monarch butterflies are one of the world's most beautiful and beloved insects, but in recent years they have come under threat from pesticides and habitat destruction in both their summer homes in the United States and Canada and their wintering grounds in Mexico. One way to help save the monarch butterfly is to plant flowers and other plants that attract them. By providing both adult butterflies and caterpillars with food and shelter, you can help increase their numbers. The most important plants for monarch butterflies are milkweeds ( Asclepias sp.). Milkweeds are the only plants that monarch caterpillars can live on and they are therefore vital for maintaining a healthy population of monarch butterflies. Milkweed plants also provide an important nectar source for adult monarchs and many other butterfly species.
Although your choice of wildflower species should depend on what species you are attempting to attract, here are a few recommendations. Unless otherwise stated, prairie plants prefer well-drained soil in full or partial sun. Cupplant ( Silphium perfoliatum ) A popular nectar plant that also provides an important water source for butterflies as it collects rainwater in its deep, cup-like leaves. Cupplant is also hugely popular with birds.
Bees are looking for two main things in a good home: food and nesting habitat. The surest way to encourage native bees to to plant a profusion of flowers and flowering trees and shrubs with staggered blooming periods , so that there are some flowers blooming from early spring until late autumn. Remember that unlike honeybees, most solitary bees do not travel long distances, so be sure to concentrate plantings near bee nesting habitat . University of California studies have found that native bees prefer gardens with a large variety of flowers, preferably at least 10 different attractive species , planted in large groupings of similar flowers.
Once you know the basics of wildlife gardening, it is very easy to attract beautiful butterflies, birds and other wildlife to your garden. All wildlife visitors are looking for three things: Food Water Shelter If you provide these three things, it will be easy to attract wildlife even to the smallest of city gardens. Water
Unless otherwise marked, prairie plants prefer well-drained soil in full or partial sun. Cupplant ( Silphium perfoliatum ) may be the single best plant for birds in North America. It provides food, water, AND cover, all three of the things birds look for in a home. It gets its name from the way the large leaves clasp the stem, producing little cups that hold rainwater for days or weeks after a storm.
Whether you want to watch them or hunt them, attracting gallinaceous birds - turkey, pheasant, quail, and grouse - to your yard or acreage is surprisingly easy. Gallinaceous birds need relatively large ranges, so you are most likely to see them if you live near wild or agricultural lands. Like all wildlife, they need three main things to be happy: shelter, food, and water. Although gallinaceous birds fly well, they prefer to travel mainly by foot and they are happiest travelling under cover. If your land is adjacent to a wild area, you can draw them further into your yard by planting hedgerows that provide them with a safe corridor to travel along.