Planting a Garden? Make It Wildlife Friendly

Apr 1, 2020

Stuck at home? Why not plant a wildlife-friendly garden?
Credit Courtesy of Wildlife Center of Virginia

Now that Virginians are ordered to stay at home, maybe this is the perfect time to start a garden. And the Wildlife Center of Virginia has advice for making your garden attractive to native wildlife, right in your backyard. WMRA’s Bridget Manley reports.

One of the biggest threats facing wildlife today is habitat destruction.  But the Wildlife Center of Virginia says it's relatively easy to erase some of that damage by creating a backyard garden that helps local animals find food, water and shelter.  Alex Wehrung is the center's Outreach Communications Coordinator. He says using native vegetation can help critters and pollinators find food easier.

Alex Wehrung is the Outreach Communications Coordinator for The Wildlife Center of Virginia. He recommends consulting the Virginia Native Plant Society for tips on what to plant this spring.
Credit Alex Wehrung

ALEX WEHRUNG: The idea is to try to kind of match what’s already in the natural environment, according to your region.  Such as trees that are fruit bearing, or nut or seed bearing. Flowering plants with pollen, foliage plants with edible leaves, those are all food sources that can be found in the wild, and things that you can incorporate into your garden as well.

Wehrung says that simple features such as fountains or a birdbath can be an inexpensive way to help animals find water.  He says giving an animal shelter can be as simple as using what you’ve got around the house.

WEHRUNG: In the wild, in natural habitats, animals would be using things like hollowed out logs, perhaps caves or burrows they’ve dug themselves - again, kind of the overall idea of creating wildlife friendly gardens is to take what’s out there and to scale it down to a backyard level. So, you can’t install a cave in your backyard, but you can take an unused terra cotta potter and tip it on it’s side and bury it halfway in the soil, so it makes a little den, nice little burrow for some animal. 

Wehrung recommends the Virginia Native Plant Society for tips on what to plant this spring.

Credit Alex Wehrung