Creating A ‘Live’ Landscape

by Mary Pellerito
As I’ve said before in this space, I really enjoy watching nature at work in my garden.
I enjoy watching robins pull worms up from the ground.
I enjoy watching birds creating a home where I can see them.

I enjoy watching hummingbirds dance among the flowers and butterflies drinking up nectar on a bright-colored blooms.

I enjoy listening to the bumblebees as they gather pollen from my squash blossoms as I weed the vegetable beds.
I enjoy listening to the frogs on a warm, spring evening as they fill the air with their love songs.
I enjoy hearing the songbirds welcoming the day, first only a few and then so many that it is hard to hear the individual songs.
I enjoy coming across a toad in the garden or a snake in the rock pile or a turtle sunning itself near the wetland.
I have a ‘live’ landscape without having to do much of anything.  I am working with nature to create gardens and a landscape that I find beautiful while at the same time improving and enhancing the habitat that exists around my home.  I do this by:

  • Planting host plants and nectar plants for butterflies
  • Planting flowers that are attractive and useful to native bees so I can improve the quantity and quality of my fruits and vegetables.
  • Planting trees that provide food, shelter, and cover for the greatest number of animals and insects.  Native oaks, willows, and cherries lead the list.
  • Reducing the amount of lawn I have so there are more places for birds and animals to feel safe.  By bringing groupings of cover plants, such as trees and shrubs, closer to the house, I can see the birds from the kitchen window rather than just hear them from a lawn away.
  • Be willing to add brush piles to the landscape and allow for dead trees to remain standing (if they will not harm my home or any out buildings when the fall) or lying on the ground.  Nature isn’t always neat and many birds, insects, and mammals seek out dead wood for food and shelter.

I found that my garden style is a ‘live’ landscape.  My plant choices and my garden designs reflect my style.  What is your garden style?


Mary Pellerito is a Michigan-based garden and nature writer. Mary is a member of the Garden Writer’s Association, Wild Ones, and she is a Master Gardener.  This article was previously published on her blog Going Native.

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