About Central Florida Gardener

Welcome and thank you for visiting Central Florida Gardener. Florida is a unique state in which to garden. It can be frustrating but also rewarding for gardeners who persevere. This blog was created as a resource for Florida gardeners, both new and experienced, in search of information specifically for Florida gardens.

You are invited to participate by leaving your comments, suggestions, tips and recommendations relevant to Florida gardening - don't be shy! Thank you for dropping by to learn more about gardening in the Sunshine state. I look forward to hearing from you! Susan

Monday, August 27, 2012

Creating a Wildlife Habitat - Step #2: Providing Water Sources

Water is a crucial resource for our survival and the same is true for wildlife. In order to attract and keep wildlife in our garden it is important to add at least one source of water...varying types of water sources spread throughout your garden is even more beneficial.

The SECOND element necessary to attract wildlife to your garden is a source of water.

It doesn't have to be a large water pond...adding small elements throughout your garden is all you need.

TO-DO: Add a birdbath, pond or water garden, rain or bog garden, butterfly puddling area to your garden.

 Birdbaths are one of the easiest ways to add a water source to your garden. Adding several in different locations is a good start. Also, consider adding a saucer of water at ground level for other animals. Rocks with depressions in them will fill with rain water for butterflies and other animals. Birds are attracted to the sound of running water, so feel free to include a fountain in your plans.

Adding a pond or water garden to your yard is a more ambitious undertaking but it creates its own small ecosystem that attracts a larger number of wild creatures such as frogs, toads, turtles, racoons, dragonflies, birds and butterflies.

 Rain gardens that contain water runoff and boggy areas of a garden that contain water or stay damp for a portion of the year that are planted with native plants also attract and provide habitat for butterflies, insects, frogs and birds.

Leaving areas of unmulched sandy soil (near butterfly plants) provide butterflies with a puddling area where they can easily get the necessary water, minerals and salt that they need for survival. If you don't want to leave an area of ground unmulched you can create a puddling station in a clay saucer. Just fill it with sand/dirt, place several small stones on top of the soil and keep it moist.

Many times I've caught squirrels sipping water from this small potted water garden in my backyard. It's easy to make and maintain. All you need is a container that doesn't have drainage holes. I added a couple inches of dirt and two native potted Pickerel Weed plants. I filled it with water and added small quantities of tiny native Duckweed and Water Lettuce. Occassionally, I have to add water to it when it doesn't rain but it never smells foul or needs cleaning.

Wildlife Friendly Tip: 

#1 - When cleaning birdbaths use a small amount of vinegar instead of bleach and a good stiff brush to scrub off debris.

#2 - Using native plants in ponds or bog/rain gardens is beneficial to wildlife. 

Adding a variety of water sources to your garden is easy and inexpensive. Position them in different areas of your garden for maximum benefit and sit back and enjoy the entertainment of all the happy creatures that visit them.


Dawn said...

Cute little potted water garden, I think I'll have to get one of those. Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth said...

Beautiful post. We used to raise Monarchs in our front and back yard.
Right now we are trying to redesign the yard so hopefully I can get back into it.
Peace and Raw Health,

Kimberly said...

Beautiful post, Susan! Your water areas are lovely for both wildlife and humans. I especially enjoy your potted water garden. I've done this with pickeral weed...very pretty. I use an antique soap dish for my butterflies and lizards. They are very appreciative, although I've never thought to add some sand...good idea! And even though I have a large pond on my property, many birds visit a large pasta bowl I leave on the ground under a tree. Maybe they feel safer there. I also must compliment you on your tidy run off garden...very attractive!

Nanette O'Hara said...

Love these ideas, Susan. Will definitely add a puddling saucer to my butterfly garden. One question: With your container water garden, you said you filled it with dirt before adding pickerel weed. How did you keep the dirt from just mixing with the water, or did the dirt eventually settle to the bottom? I'd like to try this.

Susan said...

Hey Nanette...I placed a small amount of dirt on the bottom of the container...enough to hold the two potted plants in place. The dirt did settle to the bottom after I put water in it. Give it a try... I really enjoy this small water garden...everytime I pass by it or add some water to it...it makes me smile.

Bona said...

I can't imagine creating a wildlife habitat in Florida would be hard. They have a great climate for beautiful and tropical plants! It is what I love most about Florida and it really seems like you know what you are talking about! I was just in Palm Bay Hotel (www.palmbay-hotel.com). Green and affordable and close to a ton of wildlife!

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Perfectly Green artificial grass said...

Everybody these days is interested in doing things organically and rightfully so it's always better to do things in accord with nature. I appreciate your work.

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daisy g said...

I never thought to use vinegar for the birdbaths, I would think it might affect them. Good to know I can use it safely.

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