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Creating habitats


It is remarkable when you think about it how much the Southern Ontario landscape has changed since the area was pioneered by European settlers.  In the grand scheme of things, 1492 was just a short time ago.  Nonetheless, about 95% of the natural vegetative cover from that time has since been cleared for agriculture and urban settlement.  Weíve come up with some silly habits that pollute and take up a lot of space and itís beginning to catch up with us. Nature is throwing weather extremes back.

Due to the human presence wild places are limited in their size and scope. Collectively though, if we all participate in creating suitable habitats around our homes, planting native plants and promoting greenery rather than pavement, we can make a tremendous impact.

With these habitats come species diversity, self-sustaining ecosystems, beauty, natural pest control and countless untold benefits yet to be learned.  It is important for all of us to engage in restoring the diversity of plant species Ė and in particular native plant communities Ė in Southern Ontario. Public parks and golf course properties have the unique opportunity to create wildlife habitat on a larger scale than the average home owner.

Natural systems and native plant communities are pretty resilient and pockets remain, poised to take their land back in some way shape or form. These are the species of plants and animals that evolved in our region to form stable ecosystems of forest, pond or meadow life.  Wind in the Willows sort of stuff. Restoring these communities that contain a rich assortment of species is a critical component if we are to improve our position with the environment.

What draws us to these types of places is the richness and wildness of them.  Natural plant communities are calming and soothing to look at and be in, probably because they have no need of us. Whenever I see animals in the wild I feel a bit envious of their freedom and that they donít have to pay taxes. On the other hand I wouldnít want the fear of being eaten alive hanging over my head!

Wild things canít help but get everything they need locally, so they are busy.  And we donít mind that theyíre busy. Thatís part of the appeal of a thriving, buzzing environment and part of the reason why the butterfly garden idea is so popular.  Build it and they will come.

Need help in creating habitats?

If you are looking for help in improving the appearance and usefulness of your own garden, click here.

For a list of Native Plant Nurseries near you, click here.

For some ideas, you can turn to my Naturalized Gardening page.

 A few books that might help you along the way are:

Petersonís Field Guide to the Wildflowers by Peterson & McKenny -- This is a classic hand book that has pictures of flowers to help you identify plants.  It will tell you what is an alien and what is native.

100 Easy to Grow Native Plants by Lorraine Johnson -- Along with colourful photographs, this book will tell you the habitat the plants require as well as what plants are good companions to each other.

Shrubs of Ontario by James Soper and Margaret Heimburger -- A guide to native shrubs with excellent illustrations, showing the range of the shrubs and describing their habitat.  Shrubs are much more versatile in landscapes than trees, are ultimately more manageable than trees because of their smaller size, provide food and shelter for wildlife, provide privacy screening and windbreaks, benefit the ecosystem in many of the same ways as trees do, and prepare the area for natural succession where trees eventually dominate.

Natural Habitat Gardening by Ken Druise -- A very nice picture book, showing pictures of habitats and gardens we would all like to create.





© Daisy Moore, 2008.



Need help in creating habitats?

Looking for help in improving the appearance and usefulness of your own garden?

click here

For some ideas, you can turn to my Naturalized Gardening page.

For a list of Native Plant Nurseries near you, click here.

For a few books that might help you along the way, click here.




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© Daisy Moore 2008