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What is a Habitat Garden?

Habitat gardens add beauty to properties while also benefiting nature.

Many home owners have become interested in gardens that are environmentally friendly and also support butterflies, bees, and birds. Habitat loss is a significant problem impacting species decline. Property owners can make a big difference by growing Ontario native plants that provide a source of food and shelter and by changing some gardening practices.

The garden pictured includes plants such as Brown-Eyed Susan, Dense Blazing Star, Yarrow, Purple Hyssop, Stonecrop, and Echinacea. The design is formalized with the strategic use of height, space, border plants, and rocks.

Non-native flowers will not provide the same level of support for pollinators and birds and also risks introducing invasive plants that are harmful (such as butterfly bush). 

Once native plants are established they are drought tolerant, naturally disease resistant, and less likely to be infested by harmful pests. Habitat gardens can be designed in multiple ways for a variety of spaces and tastes. From formal designs to prairie gardens with a more wild look, there are many options to choose from. 

When considering your garden, one of the most important factors is how much sunlight a space receives during the day. Some plants require a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight, while others can tolerate less. Other important factors in plant selection is the soil moisture and soil type. 

If your garden is under the shade of trees or buildings for most of the day we should use plants that do well in that environment. Luckily in Ontario we have beautiful native plants that are happy in a shaded garden setting such as: Wild Blue Phlox, Woodland Sunflower, Wild Ginger, Oswego Tea, and Blue Lobelia. Pictured on the left is Canadian Anemone.

On the other hand, spaces that receive full sun for the entire day and get very hot and dry, might do better with a 'xericape' rock garden using a mix of prairie flowers, hardy shrubs, and stonecrop (non-invasive succulents).

Restoring and naturalizing shorelines with native plants that are intended for the region is essential for water quality and aquatic life such as fish. Shoreline habitat gardens help reduce erosion, flooding, pollution, and help maintain the ecosystem.

The term, "rewilding" describes the act of returning lawns to a more wild and restored space for nature. These gardens use the same principals, and are generally like a natural meadow and informal. By reducing our high-maintenance lawns and planting locally significant native plants, not only do we create gorgeous spaces to enjoy, but we also save time, effort, and money on the endless cycle of mowing, spraying, seeding, and watering.  Prairie gardens are wonderful if you prefer a garden that requires no maintenance. In fact, wild gardens that include dead stems and leaves provide shelter for native bees and other beneficial insects to over-winter and raise their young, as well as return nutrients to your soil.

The great news is there are so many creative ways to design a habitat garden. It does not have to look "messy", unless you want it to. 

Inspired Habitat Garden Services is here to help you create a beautiful garden that suits any taste or budget.