Sometimes we want to do something beneficial, like turning our backyard into a wildlife habitat, but it feels too big a task or we just don’t know where to start. The good news: you really don’t have to start over; there are so many ways to make a garden more wildlife-friendly. So where to start?  Is there space to add one or more native trees or shrubs?  Ceanothus, coffeeberry, hollyleaf cherry, toyon, for example, like sunny spots and are drought tolerant.  Do you need a hedge for screening? These plants double as hedgerow options, too, while providing nectar or berries, or both.  Can you find room in planting beds for a drift of native perennials or small shrubs?  Early spring-blooming native salvias are a great source of nectar for native bees, honeybees and butterflies. Summer-blooming coyotemint (Mondardella spp.), a favorite of butterflies, looks beautiful massed or spilling over a wall. Taking a big-picture view of your back and front gardens, look for ways to increase diversity.  Planning for more vertical layers of trees, shrubs, and ground plants will add shelter and nesting places. Plants that produce seeds and berries, fruits and nuts add more foraging sites.  A water source for birds can be as simple as a birdbath filled with fresh water.  Summer is a good time to see who is showing up in your garden.   

Where to Start – it is easier than you think!