Monday, March 14, 2022

Clean Water Is Up To You: Creating Native Habitat In A Postage-Stamp Garden

If you always thought planting with native flowers, shrubs and trees demanded lots of time and space, consider what Paradise Valley gardener Ann Foster and family created in her son’s Easton backyard.

“It was fun, and so easy to create in that small space!” Ann said. With brawn provided by husband Steve, the 10’ by 10’ garden room welcomes humans and other creatures. 

As a Penn State Cooperative Extension Master Gardener, Ann has thought a lot about not just the beauty of gardens, but also how they work as part of a natural web of food and shelter for birds, insects, and small mammals.

“Ecosystems have been fragmented,” she said. “But by creating small gardens like this, we create corridors of mini-habitats that support birds, migrating butterflies, and essential pollinators.”

Spaces like these also protect drinking water. Instead of pooling on rock-hard compacted soil or a hot, featureless concrete patio, rainwater is welcome in this urban Eden. Water and snow- melt percolate slowly into the soil, which filters and purifies it — and keeps it from infiltrating the home’s foundation. 

“We used easy-to-grow stalwarts of the native garden,” said Ann. “Plants like bright crimson bee balm, lavender hyssop and great blue lobelia create a lot of impact. And it’s not just visual — the crushed leaves give off a heady fragrance. And natives grow like weeds!”

A water feature, a bird bath, garden art, and beds of native plants and flowers provide habitat for a wide variety of visitors. There’s even a kitchen herb garden. Set along a wall warmed by the sun, the herb garden is elevated, making it easy to tend and harvest.

The garden creates an outdoor space that the family enjoys year round, both as a peaceful refuge and for its pleasant views from the house. “We hope someday to see Monarch butterflies stop by,” Ann added. “That will be a red-letter day!” 

For More Information

Whatever the size of your garden, using native plants makes sense, and not just for water quality. They are adapted to local conditions, need very little watering or attention once established, and attract beneficial insects and birds. 

A great source for plants is Brodhead Watershed Association’s annual online native plant sale.  

Click Here for more on Gardening for Clean Water.

Clean Water Is Up To You

Clean Water is Up to You is a series published by the Monroe County-based Brodhead Watershed Association.

For more information on programs, initiatives and other upcoming events, visit the Brodhead Watershed Association website or Follow them on FacebookClick Here to sign up for regular updates from the Association.  Click Here to become a member.

Related Articles:

-- Nature At Risk: How Important Can A Tiny Bird Be?

-- Two Bipartisan Bills Just Sitting In Senate Waiting To Address Record Number Of Water Quality Impaired Streams Reported In 2022 [Allocating $500 Million from American Rescue Plan Funds-- Senate Bill 525, Senate Bill 465-- the preferred bills.]

[Posted: March 14, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner