A Flower Garden, a Haven for Fauna

There is a saying: where there are plants, there is life! Like a natural environment that harbors trees, herbaceous plants, animals, insects and all types of microscopic organisms, a garden with its shrubs, perennials and annuals is all that!

As well as benefitting from the satisfaction in creating a well-laid out garden, flowerbeds contribute in their own way to the diversity of the animal kingdom. So, gardens will be visited by furry animals, but mostly by birds, butterflies and other insects.

To demonstrate the importance of landscaping on bird populations, a University of Wisconsin study compared a vacant lot with residential districts built between 1 and 29 years ago. The number and variety of birds counted increases proportionately with the age of the district. The presence of maturer trees is certainly beneficial, but flowerbeds, particularly when they contain plants that attract and feed birds also have a magnetic effect on birdlife.

Because each plant has its favorites, a diverse garden also contributes to proliferating the number of insects. Of course, our attention is immediately drawn to insect pests. But pests make up less than 3% of all the observable insects in a residential garden. All the others are either beneficial insects or simply innocent visitors. This manna makes insect-eating birds very happy and there’s nothing better than a nice colony of ladybirds to rid a garden of unwanted aphids.

Among the garden’s preferred visitors, butterflies top the list. And there’s no better way to give them a good welcome than to provide some plants for caterpillars to nibble. So, milkweed is the ideal food for the precious monarch butterfly and some parsley plants to make another very beautiful butterfly happy, the black swallowtail. There are also a selection of flowering perennials that butterflies like for foraging, such as asters, sedum or echinacea.

Whether native or ornamental, this tremendous diversity of plants, birds and insects forms a small ecosystem that contributes to the wellbeing of the planet and its inhabitants, wherever they may be! 

To find a garden centre, or landscaper:

Resources:   

Anonymous. Insectes et autres arthropodes - Papillon du céleri. Space for life. Consulted online.

Boucher, Stéphanie. Les insectes de nos jardins, Famille Papilionidae – Porte-queues. Consulted online.

Brethour, Cher et al. 2007. Literary review of the benefits of ornamental horticultural products on health and the envrionment. George Morris Center. Page 27, 28.

Chacea, Jameson F. and Walsh, John J. 2006. Urban effects on native avifauna: a review. Landscape and Urban Planning. Volume 74, No 1, January 1, 2006. Pages 46–69

Damschen, E. et al. 2006. Corridors Increase Plant Species Richness at Large Scales. Science 313 (5791): 1284-1286.

Stewart, Colin. 2004. Beneficial Insects and Spiders in Your Maine Backyard - A Fact Sheet Series on Managing Lands for Wildlife. University of Maine. Bulletin #7150

Tweit, R.C. and Tweit, J.C. 1986. Urban development effects on the abundance of some common resident birds of the Tucson area of Arizona. Am. Birds, 40 (1986). Pages. 431–436.

Vale, T.R. and Vale, G.R. 1976. Suburban bird populations in west-central California. J. Biogeog., 3 (1976). Pages 157–165.

 

 

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