Creating Bird and Butterfly Habitat
Excerpted from The New Canadian Garden, site, 2016, Mark Cullen. All rights reserved. Published by Dundurn Press.
Your backyard, balcony, or patio space can be bird and butterfly friendly with the use of some fairly
1. Berry trees/bushes
If you have a bit more space, consider planting a tree or shrub that will flower and produce berries or other small fruit. The flowers will attract butterflies and other pollinators.
Crabapple, raspberry, blueberry, serviceberry, elderberry, dogwood, and spicebush are excellent providers of edible fruit to feed the birds. Of course, this list is nowhere near complete, and I would encourage you to visit your local garden centre to find a berry-producing plant that will work for your particular growing zone.
Some small understory plants will also produce berries and would be good for areas that do not receive a lot of sun. Smooth Solomon’s seal, false Solomon’s seal, Jack-in-the-pulpit, mayapple, columbine, Joe-pye weed, and turtlehead, to name a few.
If vertical space is all you have, consider a Kiwi (Actinidia kolomikta) for full sun, porcelain vine (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata ‘Elegans’) for part shade, and climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris) for shade. Not all of these will produce edible berries, but they will provide nectar for butterflies and a sheltered spot to rest for just about any small critter.
2. Nectar plants
Butterflies and hummingbirds will thank you for plants that provide an ongoing source of nectar. Pollen and nectar will also attract a range of pollinators looking for food and nest-building materials. Provide three seasons of nectar for best results.
Read more in my new book ‘The New Canadian Garden’ available at independent book stores and Home Hardware.