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Sustainability: Create a Garden that Benefits Wildlife and Your Pets

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

Creating a butterfly garden is something that I started doing in my spare time as just an idea for landscaping my front yard, yet it has turned into so much more. As much as I enjoyed planting and caring for the garden, I was able to see how much the wildlife appreciated what I was doing and my pets too! Living the life of a spoiled house pet can get quite boring sometimes. If someone isn't home during the day, your pets have to find ways to entertain themselves when you're not around. I give my pets enrichment type toys, but I don't leave food enrichment when I'm not home since I have one small senior with no teeth and a larger one who is an avid chewer. There are risks involved when leaving those types of toys down unattended such as choking or ingesting a foreign body if your dog decides to eat more than just the food.

My butterfly garden has turned into a nature friendly television for my pets to watch out the window. There is always something new outside enjoying the flowers or food provided for them and my pets always have something to watch to help pass the time until they see me again. Here are a few short steps that will make creating a butterfly garden easy for you so you and every animal nearby can enjoy it.

1. Do Your Research

Butterfly Milkweed when I first planted it in my garden.

When I first began trying to start a garden, I was just going to my closest nursery and buying anything I thought looked pretty and put it in the ground. Well, it looks nice for a short period of time, but in the long run it didn't hold up to what I wanted it to be. When planting a butterfly garden, you need to research online what plants are native to the area where you live and what attracts the wildlife you want to bring into your garden. By planting native plants, it will cut down on your maintenance time and there is a better chance they will come back year after year as they are better adjusted to the climate in which you live. One of the most important plants to put in your garden should be milkweed. It is the main source of food for nearly all butterflies. There are different types of milkweed so find out which ones do best in your area.

Native plants are better for the environment because it helps restore the areas local ecosystem back to what it used to be. Local birds and butterflies depend on certain food sources. The majority of people are just planting grass to fill up their lawn, and this cuts back on providing shelter and food for the wildlife around them. If you really want to get into butterfly gardening, turn your yard into a Monarch Waystation. Here you can help the Monarch butterfly population and decorate your front yard at the same time.

2. Actually Do It

Plan time in your schedule to order the plants or seeds you want and actually spend the time to do it. Instead of just randomly putting plants around your yard, draw out a plan first. Creating a plan and stick