Here’s How to Make Your Montana Garden Welcoming for Wildlife
We like to complain about our wildlife in Missoula. The abundant urban deer population poses challenges and there are focus groups to help with local bear encounters too. For many of us who garden, we're looking for plants that won't attract wildlife, rather than plants that will. That is, unless you think about the smaller wildlife, like butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees, or as they're sometimes generalized the pollinators.
Choosing Plants That Benefit Pollinators
The first thing you can do as you're planning your garden this year is look for varieties that are native to the area and that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Many of the local nurseries will have plants that fit both of these categories. You'll often see tags with these designations right on the pots. But planning your garden can go a step further.
Have You Considered Creating a Certified Wildlife Habitat®?
To truly help wildlife species that are critical to our ecosystem, you can employ thoughtful practices that support wildlife and certify with the National Wildlife Federation. Creating an environment for wildlife goes beyond planting native plants. You can add water sources like a birdbath and practice sustainable gardening by xeriscaping.
If you employ enough of these practices in your yard, you can apply to be a Certified Wildlife Habitat®. If approved you can have a sign in your yard, almost like having a house on the National Register of Historic Places.
Whether you're interested in certifying, learning about what it takes to be certified, or you'd just like to practice sustainable gardening, you can find tons of great resources on the National Wildlife Federation website.