Gardens aren’t just about petunias, they can also help animals and
encourage native plants.
This year when you are planning the family garden patch, you can
make a sustainable wildlife garden.
Animals, birds, bees, and butterflies need food, water, cover and a place
to rear young. Your garden can be a place where they thrive.
First, plant at least three native flowering plants. Some typical choices,
according to nwf.org: Buffalo grass, Prairie Dropseed, Black-eyed
Susan, and Common Ninebark.
Install a water feature. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Wet rocks are
good for butterflies. Hummingbirds like to take showers in a gentle
mist. And all birds need a drink in the summer.
Put up nesting boxes. The sparrows will move in quickly, but you
might one day be surprised to find nesting bluebirds, too.
To encourage butterflies, especially monarchs, find a place for nectar
plants and milkweed. Milkweed has a bad reputation because it
becomes pretty shabby looking by late summer. But it has some things
going for it. In late spring and early summer, milkweed delights with a
delicious fragrance as the big pink flower clusters bloom. Even when it
is looking shabby, that’s an important time for butterflies who use it as a
Take the long-view of your garden site. Trees are essential for a good
wildlife area. Even a small yard can host a dwarf evergreen or
Your Monthly Maintenance Minute
Usually you think about your gutters in fall. But plenty of debris can
accumulate there in the six months since you last cleaned them.
It’s easy to miss leaves from trees that don’t go bare until late fall.
They’re probably still up there. Storm-blown sticks aren’t going
anywhere by themselves. Many trees drop spring buds and flowers, and
then there are the clouds of white cottony stuff blowing from the
cottonwoods. By the middle of May, it’s time to clean the gutters again.
Here are a few safety tips.
* You’ll be climbing a ladder, so don’t wear loose clothes that could trip
you up or catch on the ladder or the gutter. Wear shoes that easily grip
each rung of the ladder.
* Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes and wear work gloves so you
won’t be cut by something sharp, which could also startle you and make
* Always work with a partner who can hold the ladder and help to
move it to the next work spot, and who can call for help if you fall or
* Use a trowel instead of your hands, even if you are wearing gloves.
* Dump debris into a garbage can below. If you miss it, you can sweep
up when you’re finished. Never carry a trash bucket up the ladder.
You may not look forward to the project, but gutters are needed to carry
water away the foundation and basement. And they can prevent wall
damage on the inside of a home.
Put safety at the top of your list.