Extensive urban growth over the last few decades has had a significant impact on habitat that birds and other wildlife once called home. You, as a homeowner, have a unique opportunity to curtail this loss of habitat by creating your own backyard wildlife sanctuary.

NatureScaping of Southwest Washington is a non-profit, all volunteer, educational organization whose goal is to educate and encourage homeowners to make their yards and gardens a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife.

Membership above the $20 level will support maintaining the gardens fencing, irrigation, educational materials and more.

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Cottage Garden

Cottage Garden

This informal, country style garden attracts plenty of our local birds and other wildlife using small scale varieties of bird favorites. Plantings in the garden provide food for wildlife in the form of fruit, berries, seeds nectar and pollen. There are two water features in the garden, a standard birdbath and a shallow dish in the rock garden. Trees and shrubs as well as a brush pile, logs and small rock piles provide cover. Evergreen species also provide cover.

Native plants in this garden include vine maple, sword fern, creeping Oregon grape, hazelnut, serviceberry, and Oregon grape. A small herb garden, with both perennial and annual herbs, is especially attractive to butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects. A small garden area contains a semi-dwarf apple tree, a red and a black currant bush, a dwarf and a semi-dwarf blueberry and loganberries.

No lawn was planted as grass has little value to wildlife and requires a lot of care. A number of groundcovers were used instead under trees and shrubs. Six types of thyme and mosses are used around the stepping-stones. There are five deciduous trees, none of which grow over 25 feet tall. Dwarf varieties of hazelnut, serviceberry, and spruce are used. The Bristle cone pines are very slow growing. Many of the shrubs are compact varieties also.

An arbor supports climbing vines and will provide shade in the summer. Drip irrigation has been installed to reduce water use and help prevent mildew and other problems inherent in overhead (sprinkler system or hand) watering.

In the summer watch the swallows feeding their babies in the birdhouse.