Bring Your Backyard to Life

No matter where you garden, you can turn your outdoor space into a year-round haven for birds, butterflies, and a host of other creatures. Armed with our short list of must-have plants for wildlife, any gardener can create a backyard that’s as inviti

I'm James Baggett with Country Gardens. No matter where you garden, you can turn your outdoor living space into a haven for birds, bees, butterflies, and a host of other wildlife. Armed with our short list of must-have plants for the wildlife garden, any gardener can create an outdoor space that says welcome into wildlife as it is beautiful. Let's start with this tropical shrub that only grows in annual, called lantana. From a distance, this flower cluster appears orange, but when you get close, you can see it's composed of individual flowers that are yellow, orange, and red that blend when viewed from afar. Easy to grow and drought-tolerant, lantana makes an excellent container plant. Best of all, it's a favorite of bees and butterflies. And speaking of butterflies, if you have a butterfly garden, then Joe-pye weed is for you. Joe-pye weed is a Native American perennial that can be divided every 2 years. Be sure to pinch back the plants in early summer for a bushier plant that will plump over. But beware, some varieties can grow over 10 feet tall and don't be surprised if you see humming birds. Our next plant is a shrub that's a true butterfly magnet. With the name like butterfly bush, it's no surprise that bees and butterflies flock to these honey-scented blossoms. But this easy-to-grow shrub can be an invasive rascal. If you leave near a natural area, watch for volunteer seedlings, remove them and get rid of the plant. Few flowering trees offer the variety of shape, size, flower color, and pretty fruit as a flowering crab apple. Crab apples are the most popular of the spring flowering trees in the north and Midwest, but cold winters and heavy soil prevent others from performing as well. There are many different species and [unk] that grow less than 30 feet tall. Small apple-like fruits are eaten by finches, pheasants, and waxwings in the autumn, and when they fall to the ground by dear, rabbit, foxes, and smaller mammals. So there is a start. Now, you see how easy it is to create a more natural garden and a healthier world for people and plants. Isn't it time, you lay out a natural welcome mat for your neighborhood wildlife? I'm James Baggett with