• Garden tips to save water and attract butterflies

    Posted by   |  July 15, 2016
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    As the summer heat kicks in, using water for your garden comes in second place to keeping a steady supply of drinking water available for your family and community. Here we will discuss a method of gardening known as xeriscaping. This form of gardening cuts down on water usage, maintenance, and energy with the benefit of being environmentally conscious.

    To start, it is recommended that you pay attention to your soil quality and moisture retention throughout your property. First, look to plant native species, as these plants are the ones with the ability to withstand the climate and water condition of the area. For plants that need more water, plant them in areas that are naturally wetter, and the opposite for those that favor drier conditions. In addition, add organic matter, such as compost, to help ramp up the water-holding capacity of your soil. Don’t skimp on the mulch either – especially for those plants that need more water. Mulch protects the soil underneath from evaporation and helps to hold in moisture.

    After planting, you can also look for other ways to take care of your garden and lawn to further reduce your needs for maintenance and water usage. Look to use patios, decks, and mulches to cover parts of your yard, versus planting turf/grass, unless it will provide actual use . By adding the layer of mulch, the necessity to water will decrease, so make sure to water your plants only as needed. Last, when landscaping, or if using planters, try to slope then in a way that water runoff does not occur, or if it does it is in a way that will continue to water your plants. The City of Boulder, in Colorado provides a deeper insight into these different methods on xeriscaping.

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    In addition to looking to plant native species and building a more aesthetically, but environmentally friendly, garden, learn to also bring butterflies into your garden, helping to build the population. While not discussed too often, the butterfly population provides a host of benefit to the environment. These benefits range from: pollination to promote the growth of fruits, vegetables, and flowers (most serving to be food for animals); as well as draw the attention of people of all ages providing for more peaceful experiences. Sadly, as development and pesticide use increases, we see the endangerment of several species of butterfly rapidly rising.

    While planning to xeriscape your garden, a way to keep butterflies around is to remember to plant native species that butterfly caterpillars are likely to eat. Try to target plants that will also produce nectar-rich flowers for butterflies to drink from – such as milkweed or zinnias. In addition, you can have a fun family project, as well as add more pleasant furnishings to your garden by building a butterfly house to protect them from harsh weather conditions and the range of predators they will come across.

    Xeriscaping not only promotes new growth and attracts creatures such as butterflies, but will also allow for you to express creativity in building what you see to be an aesthetically pleasing view, and has the positive benefit of being more environmentally conscious.

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