Tips for keeping a happy native garden while attracting Birds and Pollinators (and discouraging "others"). Included are some slides from my presentations.
First, a checklist: ☐ 1. Have you selected native and/or wildlife friendly adapted plants? ☐ 2. Do you need to remove any harmful/invasive/non-beneficial plants? ☐ 3. Are you using targeted, wildlife friendly pest control? ☐ 4. Do your plants and yard offer- ☐ food (nectar, berries, foliage)? ☐ protection/cover? ☐ nesting/reproductive advantages? ☐ water? ☐ 5. Do you discourage predators, competitors, and parasites? ☐ 6. Do you ensure against window collisions? Huge numbers of birds die this way! Close blinds or curtains when you’re not actually looking through your windows at birds. Better yet, go to the following link and read more about bird collisions, then order one of the products like “Bird Crash Preventers”: https://abcbirds.org/get-involved/bird-smart-glass/ ☐ 7. If you are feeding wildlife, have you carefully selected food to encourage the species you want and discourage unwanted species?
How to Select the "right" Plants The Grow Green Guide (www.growgreen.org) is a great place to start: I can provide most of the native & wildlife friendly "adapted" plants in the booklet, plus many more
Considerations before planning and planting your garden
Mulch, Mulch, Mulch! And use compost instead of fertilizer in most cases. Garden-ville doesn’t pay me, but the next two products are the best compost and mulch I have found.
In many cases, if you just want to bury leaves or save some money, you can use products like the Texas hardwood mulch illustrated here. There is no such thing as too much mulch! Try to keep a constant layer of at least 3 inches. Here is a good one to use in our region. And if you have a strong back and access to a pick up truck, you can get all the free mulch you want at the TDS facility In Georgetown. Just bring a utility bill to prove that you’re a Georgetown resident! Go to the city of Georgetown website to learn more.
Ideas to conserve pollinators (Courtesy of Wizzie Brown) 1. Plant native plants that provide nectar blooms spring, summer, and fall. 2. Provide a variety of colors. 3. Provide a variety of flower/ bloom shapes. 4. Provide multiple levels. 5. Reduce turf and replace with flowering plants. 6. Plant native bunch grasses which can provide food and shelter for insects
The only herbicides you should ever use are this or the following; note the OMRI label on the Ortho product: that tells you it’s OK for organic gardens even! But beware of similar products and even the earlier version of this product, which contain more toxic compounds. Of course, hand weeding is the best way to go if possible!
MILKWEEDS and Monarchs
This is Mexican Milkweed, NOT native here. If you keep it in your garden, please prune by mid-November: otherwise, it will prevent monarchs from continuing their southward migration
This is a native milkweed, often called Butterfly Weed. It is a better choice in your garden, but difficult to find for sale.
This is Antelope Horns, one of the best locally native milkweeds for your garden. It grows wild in our region, but is difficult to find for sale and doesn't transplant well.
American Robins Flock to my backyard American Beautyberry plants. The lovely magenta berries on this perennial attract dozens of species!
The Best Butterfly Plants Picture below are Gregg's Mistflower, Texas Lantana, Mealy Blue Sage, Flame Acanthus, Agarita