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Arts & Life

5 Steps To Becoming A Habitat Hero

Jim Hill
Your efforts with wildscaping should aim to attact more natural wildlife, not just the plastic pink flamingos.

Audubon of the Rockies, Plant Select and High Country Gardens have teamed up to create a new garden designation: The Habitat Hero garden.

Beyond the catchy name, it all boils down to wildscaping. A habitat hero uses wildscaping in their landscape. That’s landscaping designed to attract wildlife and a way to attract pollinating insects and songbirds too.

  1. Bird and butterfly friendly plants: These are plants that offer year around food and shelter. Fruiting shrubs are an example because they have flowers for the pollinators and fruit for the birds.
  2. Use water wisely: Plant Select has recommended a number of regionally adapted plants. A lot of these perennials, shrubs and trees are drought tolerant. They use less of our precious water resource.
  3. Reduce lawn area: Perennial and shrub beds replace the lawn with habitat. Reducing lawn is also a way to increase your home food growing by planting edible plants like vegetables and fruit.
  4. Reduce chemical use: Pesticides kill the bad bugs but they also kill the good, pollinating bugs. Less chemicals in the garden mean more butterflies and bees.
  5. Plant for diversity: Use plant that bloom in different seasons through the year. Use tall and short plants. Let some plants grow together to form thickets of shelter. Eliminate invasive plants that take over.

A wildscape isn’t just an unmowed lawn. It is a landscape with diversity that includes grasses and flowers. It leaves some debris in the garden over winter for shelter for cocoons and seeds for food.
You can learn to become a habitat hero at a workshop or online at habhero.org.

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