Home & Garden

Making your garden into a haven for wildlife

Honey bee on Tidy Tips, a native California wildflower.
uc regents
master gardener 07-14-10
Honey bee on Tidy Tips, a native California wildflower. uc regents master gardener 07-14-10

Q: I love having birds, bees and lizards in my garden, but I don't know how to attract them or how to avoid harming them. Any suggestions? Shelly Fogarty, San Luis Obispo A: What could feel more like a storybook than a flourishing garden that is populated by happy birds, bees and butterflies? Suppose that garden could also help reduce our home heating and cooling bills? Sound too good to be true?

Well, the next workshop in the Master Gardeners’ popular “Advice to Grow By” series will provide you with ideas and projects to create your own energy efficient wildlife sanctuary. In “Conserving Energy and Providing Habitat in Your Backyard,” we will show how average San Luis Obispo County gardeners can provide food, water and shelter for local and migrating wildlife while reducing their home energy consumption.

The class will be geared to small or average size yards, and will focus on plants, many of them native, which are beneficial to wildlife, while providing opportunities to reduce home energy costs.

We will discuss vertical layering — planning not only the horizontal area of the yard but the vertical area as well — from the ground cover, through shrubs and small trees, to the canopies of the tallest trees. The vegetation in each layer provides shelter for different species of wildlife and should be planned accordingly to maximize shelter and food sources as well as energy saving features. Please bring a hat, a chair and a friend and join us on Saturday, July 17, for this sixth in our series of monthly workshops. It will be held at the Garden of the Seven Sisters, our newly developed demonstration garden, at 2156 Sierra Way, SLO, between 10 a.m. and noon.

When each of us, one household at a time, adopts gardening practices that save us money and help to improve environmental quality, the community is rewarded with both conserving energy and providing wildlife sanctuary. A happy ending, indeed.

Watch this column for news of our ongoing workshop series, offered free to the public the third Saturday of each month. We are especially excited to be planning our third annual Tomato Extravaganza in our own new garden Aug. 21.