Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I’ll See You in Health

Anyone who watches the Colbert Report knows this line and the antics of its host.  Yet, let’s be serious.  Part of our health is living in a healthy environment, especially our own backyard.  What is a healthy backyard?

Any yard attractive to birds, bats, bees and butterflies would be considered healthy.  To accomplish that would mean reducing the use of pesticides, conserving water and protecting water quality.  It would require planting native plants, removing invasives and limiting lawns.

Down to specifics: how does one accomplish the above?  This author doubts that many have the budget to accomplish wholesale transformation, and that’s fine.  Even if it takes a few years to effect, one can enjoy the different stages.  This author would suggest targeting one family of birds in approaching this task—hummingbirds. We are fascinated but these tiny dynamos anyway.  If you work to attract these, you will also facilitate the attraction of bees and butterflies.  You see, the plants that attract hummers attract bees and butterflies!  One of my favorite wildlife specialists often states, “If you want hummingbirds, think lasagna”.  Lasagna is a dish of many layers and flavors. Your hummingbird garden would be layers of different heights, colors, and flowers blooming at various times of the year.  Plant trumpet shape flowers but also flowers that have flat disked shaped flowers.  Together these flowers provide nectar and attract insects hummers find edible.  It is important to provide nectar and protein sources.  Hummers need a protein source especially during the raising of a brood.

Hummers need cover and shelter.  To that end, think about planting in the space available trees, shrubs and vines to which the birds can retreat.  Cross Vine and Jasmine followed by Mexican Plum, Mountain Laurel, and Redbud in the understory and Oaks, Pines and Pecans in the canopy again achieves the lasagna theme.


Feeders can add to sources of food for wildlife and will provide grand time for viewing the antics of the birds.  Find brands that offer lifetime warranties and clean them regularly.  After all, think about your desire to dine at a clean plate.  So do the birds.  The experience will be wonderful.

Sources of clean water are a must.  Birdbaths should be shallow and with sides of gentle slope.  Keep the water fresh and moving, if possible.  Clean your birdbath with regularity and change the water to keep it free of unwanted dirt and algae.  If one adds a wiggler or a drip system, this is most attractive to a variety of birds.  Misters are great, especially in hot summer months.   Birds will play in the mist and your plans benefit as well.  If you have a pond, move water by way of a pump and waterfall.

In healthy yard, you have provided the means by which birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife live and flourish.  You have contributed to lessening population decline of many species.  You’ve reconnected to nature.  Of course, you must realize, your health, too, is the beneficiary of a healthy back yard.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home