Paradise in Your Own Backyard

Hummingbird confronts Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed flower. ©2022, Elana Goren. All Right Reserved.
Hummingbird confronts Monarch Butterfly on Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias Incarnata.
Photo was taken July 19, 2022 in Hardiness Zone 6b. ©2022, Elana Goren. All Right Reserved.

Thoughts of paradise conjure up beautiful scenes of nature in perfect harmony, displaying its splendor for anyone to feast their eyes on. Vistas alive with flowers, birds and butterflies can delight the senses with beautiful colors and graceful movement. So, why not bring some of that natural vibrancy into your own backyard? It doesn’t have to be a big or expensive project, it really only takes putting native plants in your garden. Would you like to see a larger variety of birds in all their glory visiting your yard? Put native plants in your garden. Do you like seeing colorful butterflies fluttering by and would like to see more of those your world? Put native plants in your garden. Perhaps you are ecology-minded and want your outdoor oasis help reverse the decline of pollinators, a problem that affects our food supply among other important ecological issues. Well, I think you’ll guess what I suggest…put native plants in your garden and make it organic.

Whether you have a few plants in a small outdoor space or a vast expanse of property, if you put organic, native plants in your garden, you will be able to attract all kinds of pollinators. These include birds, butterflies and bees, among other insects and animals, which are vital to both our local ecosystems and the greater environment. Without these crucial pollinators, our food supply will be challenged and local populations of wildlife will suffer greatly.

We need to rethink the way we create our outdoor spaces around our homes. Though grass lawns are dominant in most backyards, they provide nothing that can sustain our local wildlife. They do not provide food or shelter and they require constant maintenance that is polluting and destructive to our environment. Grass lawns, concrete and asphalt have created bald spots on the land, places where migrating butterflies and birds have to pass over in search of food and shelter. That is one of the reasons why it is so important to plant native plants that provide these migrators oases where they can settle and feed themselves and their young.

So many species are in danger of dying out from lack of available food and shelter sources. Insecticides and herbicides also contribute to the devastating decline of populations of our native wildlife. But what can we do? There’s actually a simple way to reverse the trend and save our precious pollinators. We can replace grass lawns, these ecological ‘deserts’, with lush and beautiful arrays of plants that are native and organic. Replacing lawns and concrete with native plants will go a long way to create a paradise in your backyard for both you and our wonderful fauna to enjoy.

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