I get really excited about the beginning of a new year. I enjoy the process of ringing in the new year with family, choosing a fresh new calendar, refining my diet and exercise habits (again), and setting the intention for my garden for the upcoming year. Whether you are in the midst of a frigid winter like me (temps were 12 degrees F last night) or joyously growing in a warmer climate, January is still the perfect time to think about the purpose of your garden. To get your gardening juices flowing, think of one word that encapsulates one thing you want give your energy to this year? Your options are endless. So, what will be your 2018 garden word of the year?
Since attending the Garden Blogger’s Fling earlier this year, I’ve been a bit more inspired to visit gardens whenever I can. I’ve noticed that many of the gardens – both public and private – have areas that are designated as certified habitats. I’ve seen butterfly and pollinator habitats, and a few specifically characterized as Monarch Butterfly habitats. Other gardens had spaces more broadly classified as wildlife habitats. After carefully exploring the plants and design features in each of these garden habitats, I realized they were very similar to my own. I grow many of the same plant varieties and offer sources of food, water and shelter to make my garden attractive to wildlife. That’s when it occurred to me that I could certify my garden!
I love to color my vegetable garden beds with lots of flowers. Coneflowers, Zinnias, Marigolds and Coreopsis and others add pops of bright color to my drab raised beds made of weathered gray wood filled with rich brown soil. I plant a few annuals throughout the garden, but I mainly rely on perennials to provide fierce color year after year. To keep my flowers blooming beautifully, there’s one simple thing I do consistently – and that’s deadheading. Deadheading is a weird name for ‘cutting off the flower’. It only takes a few minutes of my time, but it’s a true game changer.
This summer I upped my gardening game by delving into designing themed flowerbeds. First on my list was to create a beautiful space that would attract pollinators, especially Monarch butterflies, to my home garden. It’s quite amazing how vital bees, butterflies and other pollinators are to the viability of the human food supply. Without these little creatures, we would not enjoy the abundance of food we too often take for granted every day. With a little effort, I was able to turn my backyard into a sanctuary of plants that support the existence of native pollinator species.
If you want to create an outdoor space that’s beautiful, peaceful and relaxing a small home butterfly garden may be for you. Butterfly gardens are designed to attract butterflies and other pollinators to a specific area where they can find food and water, as well as, and locate a safe place to lay eggs. Plus, if you’re like me and love to take pictures of your garden – you’ll have lots of opportunities to capture some amazing shots of beautiful pollinators that stop by!
Fortunately, designing a sanctuary where you want to hang out, in addition to providing a habitat where native butterflies can pollinate and populate can be created in a few simple steps.