With the Good Neighbours program HAT meets with people in the community to provide free landcare consultation in our annual focus area with the goal of enhance their backyard habitat. This year we're focusing our targeted habitat stewardship efforts in the Sooke Region.
We came up with the Top 4 recommendations for naturescaping on your land.
1. Choosing deer resistant plants
2. How to encourage native pollinators to visit
3. Naturescape for low maintenance and water use
4. Use native plants for your privacy buffers
1. The truth is, there are no deer proof plants, they will eat almost anything if they are hungry enough. But you can pick native species that are less-palatable to our ungulate neighbours. HAT suggests:
- Sword Fern
- Oregon Grape (Top right)
- Kinnikinnick (photo right)
In many cases native plants can withstand browsing better than exotics.
2. When it comes to encouraging pollinators to stop by there are a few things you can do:
- Provide a water source
- Don't be too tidy: keep your leaf litter
- Plant their favourites:
- Red-flowering Currant
- Salmonberry Bush
- Pink or White Fawn Lilies
- Oceanspray (right)
3. Naturescaping doesn't have to be a hassle. In fact, with native plants well-adapted to local climates, they tend to be less work. The trick to make your yard manageable and sustainable is to pick the right plant for the right place. Before you pick a plant, take a look at the location you want it to grow in. Is it shady? Is the location wet or dry? Then look up the conditions your plant of choice prefers (a good resource). If you can match what you've got, with what a plant wants, you'll spend less time fussing with an unhealthy plant.
Selecting drought-tolerant plants is a great way to go for an easy to manage naturescape. Some local native plant gardeners don't even have to water their garden. Why not go for a technique that conserves water and native species too?
Some low-maintenance, drought-tolerant plants to include in your garden for wildlife:
- Broad-leaved Stonecrop (and other native Sedum species)
- Nootka Rose
Another tip to hold moisture in your garden is to spread an organic mulch annually. A layer of mulch traps moisture, distributes it evenly in soil, and reduce the amount evaporated.
4. People like to keep a privacy, wind, or noise buffer around their homes often, sometimes planting hedges. That can be achieved using native plants too by planting a native plant hedgerow, a variety of shrubs spaced closely together in a row.
Some good choices for growing a hedge include:
- Salal (photo right)
- Mock Orange
- Pacific Ninebark