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Chapter Six - The Wildlife Garden

Lack of habitat is the most serious threat facing wildlife today. The problem is only going to accelerate over the coming years because we have a constantly increasing human population that is in competition with the wildlife for space.

You can provide a protective retreat for the wildlife species in your ecological niche, even with just a small space in a city. Begin by evaluating what you have and what you want. Consider your location, amount of space and neighbors. Sometimes the people who live around you may not be as enthused as you are, so check that out.

You should decide what animals you want to attract, but it is very difficult to put restrictions on who you will feed if the feed is available. Remember, that you will have predators as well as prey.

The most important consideration is, that once you begin, the creatures depend on you, and you can not quit or they will starve. This is an unnatural situation that you are responsible for.

Your goal should be to create as close to a rounded and balance environment as possible. Begin by checking out what others are doing. Visit wild areas, and places like the High Desert Museum and Sunriver Nature Center. Learn about ecological niches. Get the whole family involved, if you can.

Anything that you do not want eaten in your garden must be protected. You will need to put netting around your fruit trees, and wire around the trunks of trees. You will have to have protective fencing around your special flowers and vegetables. You may even need underground cages to protect your bulbs and roots from hungry critters.

Wildlife have certain specific needs on a year around basis. These are:

  1. Water
  2. Food
  3. Shelter or cover
  4. Area for rearing young

Ideally you will want to provide all of these. But you must look at your own circumstances and decide what you can do. Water and shelter are the first considerations. Don't begin the food if you can not keep it up.

Water is the most important component of any wild life shelter. Moving water is best, but not always the easiest to provide. If you have room you may want to have a large pond for migrating water fowl. A small fishpond or birdbath is at the other end of the spectrum. If you have a birdbath, or a small amount of standing water, it is important to change the water daily. Heater to keep the water thawed in winter are available at supply stores.

The type of food you provide varies with the creatures you are feeding. Birds are the easiest to attract and feed. This can be accomplished with bird feeders, commercial seeds, grains, household scraps, suet and peanut butter mixed with suet makes good food for insect eating birds. You can also plant grains and seeds like milo to supplement the commercial feed. Letting plants go to seed such as weeds, lettuce, sunflowers and many flowers, can be a helpful addition to the birds diet. Planting fruiting trees and shrubs adds an important component to many birds diet.

Shelter is the next level of help you can give. Hedgerows and windbreak plantings offer many levels of vegetation. Provide as much variety as you can for homes and shelter: large and small trees and shrubs, vines, ground covers and thorny hedges. Tree stumps and dead trees provide homes sites for wildlife. Piles of tree prunings and brush are also good for cover. Having unmanicured spots in the yard is helpful, and you can leave the fallen leaves for worms. When planting your trees and shrubs choose plants which fruit at different times of the year. Plant as wide a variety as possible and particularly include native varieties.

Bird houses give nesting space to birds and can be used for winter shelter. Bats are another species having problems with reduced habitat and can make use of shelters created especially for them.

If you would like to be officially sanctioned as a wildlife sanctuary, register with The National Wildlife Federation on their Web site, or at 1400 16th St. NW, Washington DC, 20036-2266.

Plants and Trees for the Wildlife Garden in Central Oregon

Trees
Name Latin Name
Choke cherry Prunus virginiana*
Maple Acer sp.*
Elderberry Sambucus sp.*
Mountain Ash Sorbus sp.*
Hawthorn Crataegus sp.*
Pine Pinus sp.*
Juniper Juniperus sp.*
Russian Olive Elaeagnus angustifolia
Shrubs
Bitterbrush Pershia tridentata*
Red Currant Ribes sanguineum*
Bush cherry Prunus sp.
Rose Rosa sp.*
Bush plum Prunus sp.
Red osier dogwood Cornus stolonifera*
Buffalo berry Sheperidia sp.
Golden currant Ribes areum*
Service berry Amelanchier sp.*
High bush cranberry Bibunum trilobum*
Honeysuckle Lonicera tatarica
Siberian pea Caragana arborescer
Manzanita Arctostaphylos sp.*
Oregon grape Berberis sp.*
Squaw currant Ribes cereum*
* Native to the Pacific Northwest
Perennial
Name Latin Name
Artichokes Helianthus tuberosus
Coreopsis Coreopsis sp.
Catnip Nepeta cataria
Gloriosa daisy Rudbeckia sp.
Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum sp.
Strawberry Fragaria sp.
Columbine Aquilegia sp.*
* Native to the Pacific Northwest
Annuals
Name Latin Name
Amarath Armaranthus sp.
Lovage Levisticum officinale
Bachelor's Button Centaurea cyanus
Marigold Tagetes sp.
Calendula Calendula officinalis
Parsley Petoselinum sp.
Cosmos Cosmos sp.
Pink Dianthus sp.
Dill Anethum graveolens
Sunflowers Heliantus sp.
* Native to the Pacific Northwest
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