Natural Gardening


Natural gardening can include a weed garden, backyard garden, prairie gardens or meadow gardens. These (somewhat) interchangeable terms mean gardeners creating a casually free-flowing natural environment designed to mimic a mountainside or prairie.  These also help sustain local wildlife, which includes butterflies.

With these unconventional garden types some feel environments should consist of one-hundred percent native plants and flowers.

Photo: Connect1







The other extreme is fearful neighbors concerned about unmanicured weed growth.




It's actually somewhere between the two:






  • Combining indigenous wildlife plants, flowering weeds, trees and ornamental plants along with wildlife ponds.  Indigenous plant life provides the best food and shelter for native wildlife.

  • Killing noxious weeds and others that are not wanted, as with any conventional types of gardens.

  • Keeping gardens as chemical free as possible while maintaining a controlled, neglected look.  Removing one pesky bug from a garden chemically can skew other populations that feed on the insect.  Continuing removing various pests from gardens becomes problematic continuing to alter the plant and food web.


    If using herbicides and pesticides consider their effects.


Native gardening with indigenous plants is able to resist pests and diseases.  Manicured areas promote natural garden pesticides.  Ornamental plants and garden decorations make it your own. 


The goal is to create a system of communities where plants and animals are living together within the same environmental conditions.  The communities of wildlife in natural gardening that develop can include welcoming:

  • Birds, Ducks (fowl), Canadian Geese (reservoir)

  • Mammals  of different sizes including squirrels.

  • Anphibians, Reptiles, Toads, Turtles and Snakes.

  • Various bugs

  • Butterflies and Bees to help the pollination process.


The developing stages will require more work as with any conventional gardening. Once the garden becomes established work begins to taper off.  This is needed so plants aren't over-growing and becoming matted possibly inviting unwanted guests. 

Starting your garden for wildlife must include Food, Water and Shelter. 
To provide these, depending on garden type,
vertical layering may be necessary.


How to Start a Garden - A simple review of location and resources.

Garden Tilling - Necessary for gardens, important for larger wildlife areas.

Planting Zones - Different USDA maps including the hardiness zone
                       map,  rainfall map and frost map.

Traditional Garden Layouts - Understanding Ornamental and
                                       Natural Landscape garden design layouts.

Types of Gardens:

  • Conventional Gardening compared to:

    Butterfly Meadows - Understand the difference of prairies and meadows. 

Other animals that invite themselves into a any garden are deer. Depending on your location this could be good thing, or not. See the following pages:

Plants for Natural Gardening

Asclepias tuberosa - More commonly known as Butterfly Weed.  Also a great hummingbird plant.



Photo: Nick Stubbs





FYI:

  • Before building any wildlife or weed garden it is important to note that although funding is available through private and government resources, these are usually for non-profits and educational institutions to develop public sites. Private properties considering serious wildlife gardening, especially a weed garden it is recommended consulting local jurisdictions. Local governments feel that these garden types can be a risk where non-native, aggressive plants could be introduced causing issues for the community.

  • Never pick or uproot anything from a local or national park system. It is becoming a common practice to bring in non-native vegetation. Park services control vegetation on a larger scale, such as burning weeds when these get out of control. If you should plant them on your property there could be serious consequences.




Related Articles:


    Weed Garden - Weeds that are suitable for weed and wildlife gardens.




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