|Turn Your Yard Into a Wildlife Refuge|
|Written by Marjorie Holt|
|Sunday, January 25 2009|
There are many reasons why birds and other animals appeal to our affections - possibly the greatest single emotion is joy. The song of the Cardinal and the Mockingbird, the displays of visiting migrant birds on their way south or north, and the sight of butterflies dancing from flower to flower are personal immeasurable pleasures.
Unfortunately, many Floridians are becoming increasingly isolated from the natural world as local populations of wildlife are displaced for suburban and urban areas. Bulldozers and backhoes are eliminating the living spaces of many of our wild birds and animals in this fast growing state.
Placing the right plant in the right place is paramount in attracting wildlife. Birds need good nesting sites, cover and food. A strategically placed birdhouse to attract a specific species could significantly increase local populations. To attract hummingbirds, plant their favorite nectaring blossoms in sunny areas; Coral Honeysuckle; Trumpet Creeper; Firebush or the White Geiger Tree.
Remember that a beautifully manicured yard with a large sterile lawn area and clipped shaped exotic shrubs and trees will not attract native wildlife. Consider eliminating some of the large expanses of energy consuming grass and replanting with native ground covers. You will be saving time, money, energy and almost totally negating the need for pesticides and fertilizers. Native trees and plants provide the ideal environment for wildlife and require little maintenance once they are established in the landscape.
Meanwhile, think about those songbirds, hummingbirds and butterflies and even that sometimes-irritating nighttime croaking of those frogs and imagine how dull our lives would be without them!
Submitted by: Janice de Grineau, Florida Master Gardener
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