We’ve been having fun experimenting on small scale projects that can really transform the habitat value of your garden. At the Sonoma Living Learning Landscapes we created this lovely little bermed swale by digging a 2’x 15′ low place for the water to collect and bringing in about 5 yards of the leanest soil we could find to berm up along the sides.

Then we added some shrubs (Frangula californica – Coffeeberry), grasses (Muhlenbergia rigens – Deer Grass) , a whole lot of Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea) and Milkweed (Asclepias species). There is cover and protection from predators, a low place for water to accumulate, food for the birds and butterflies. We also added some 1″ pebble for the excess irrigation to accumulate on – butterflies love that! It is an easy weekend project that doesn’t cost much at all. Food, Water, Cover.

Butterfly and Hummingbird Swale