Top 20 Ways to Create An EcoBeneficial Garden
Wondering how you can give a huge “eco-boost” to your garden? Look no further. Here are 20 of the best ways:
1) Reduce or eliminate the “Green Desert” (lawn/turf). It is an ecological wasteland.
2) Increase the health of your soil. Everything starts with the soil: healthy soil makes for healthy plants. Disturb your soil as little as possible. Leaves and compost are your friends.
3) Avoid synthetic pesticides. Rachel Carson warned about them 50 years ago in “Silent Spring.”
4) Limit the use of organic pesticides. Only use when absolutely necessary, and then, only sparingly and carefully.
5) Support nature’s pest control, beneficial insects, by planting a diversity of native plants to support them.
6) Tolerate some messiness in your landscape to support wildlife. Dead logs, tree snags and brush piles are homes for many creatures.
7) Tolerate some plant damage in your landscape. Valuable insects have to eat too, and they don’t eat very much.
8) Leave perennials standing through winter. They can provide food and cover for birds and insects.
9) Plant more native plants to support your local ecosystem. Native plants have co-evolved with each other and with the wildlife around them.
10) Think “plant communities” when selecting plants. Native plants don’t grow in isolation. Get to know the plants which grow together naturally, and plant that way.
11) Eradicate or reduce the invasive plants in your landscape. Identify each invasive (a cooperative extension can help) and research the best timing and organic methods for removal. Always try organic, mechanical means first.
12) When invasive plants are removed, replace them quickly and thickly with regionally native plants. Competition is key to suppressing an onslaught of more invasive plants.
13) Limit exotic plants and know their limitations. They will not provide the same depth of ecological services as native plants.
14) Encourage biodiversity by planting diversely. Bio-diverse ecosystems are more resilient to pests, diseases and climate change.
15) Avoid double-flowered plants. They often have less nectar, pollen, and seed.
16) Select natural forms of native plants for best ecosystem dynamics.
17) Provide a water source for wildlife and insects. This is crucial, but often forgotten in many landscapes.
18) Emulate healthy local natural areas in your garden. Use nature as your reference for structure and plant selection.
19) Always plant the right plant in the right place. Some plants are flexible about where they are planted, but many are not. For best success, don’t plant a sun lover in a shady spot.
20) When choosing plants, find the beauty in ecological function. Remember what Mom said? “Physical beauty is only skin deep.”
Have a great weekend (and maybe do a little late season native planting)! from Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial.
Photo: Lady Beetle (one of our great beneficial insects)
Photo credit: Flickr_ Tim RT
More from EcoBlog
Biodiversity is critical to the health of ecosystems but species diversity is crashing and getting worse in the face of climate change. How can you help? Skip the clones of native plants (grown from cuttings or tissue culture) and plant native seeds to increase genetic diversity to support our challenged…Read More
Book Review from The American Gardener: The Pollinator Victory Garden: Win the War on Pollinator Decline with Ecological Gardening Kim Eierman, Quarry Books, Beverly, MA. 160 pages. Publisher’s price, paperback: $26.99 Having worked as a garden designer for 15 years, I’m aware of the importance of native plants, but communicating…Read More
For those of us with small landscapes, dwarf cultivars of native plants can seem like a gift from heaven. Want to grow a particular native plant, but just don’t have the room? Have a straight species plant, like a native viburnum, that needs a pollinator partner for fruit production –…Read More