The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

By Winnie Lowsma
WSU Master Gardener 

Landscaping for Wildlife in your Home Garden


March 24, 2016

Maybe the constant rains will cease. It is time to get out and consider the plants for your yard and garden.

Landscaping for wild life has become a popular theme, primarily since so many of our birds and insects seem to not thrive with modern agriculture, modern landscaping and loss of habitat.

The National Wildlife Federation, the Nature Conservancy and like other organizations have been promoting the use of native plants and gardening schemes to enhance the attraction of your garden to the small creatures.

Recent research has indicated that non-native plants do not provide as much food and cover that native plants offer. Native plants have evolved to survive in our climate with less maintenance and care than ornamental imports require. Some non-natives have been around so long that we tend to think of them as native.

Plan your garden to include all four seasons’ of food resources for the birds: berries and seeds in the winter; early flowers for the spring and then flowers all summer and fall.

Insects in particular may have specific requirements as to the plants their caterpillars need, called host plants. This is particularly true for Monarch butterflies.

Just because you see a “worm” remember, that a warbler may require 8,000 to 9,000 caterpillars to raise its young. You may actually want to encourage “worms.”

The four topics you need to address are food, water, cover for protection and nesting, and toxic chemicals. Mix it up; monocultures tend to be dead zones. Even a small yard can meet some of these four requirements. The National Wildlife Federation has a web site that addresses these topics: By zip code some of the possible plantings are listed.

If you are interested in gardening and don’t have room at home, consider ‘owning for a season’ a Community Garden Plot in Cathlamet located in Erickson Park on Columbia Street. There is no fee for a season’s use, you are responsible to keep your plot planted, weeded, and watered. Water is provided as are some tools. We have three plots available at this time, so get your name in to email: or phone 360 430-3968 quickly as we have begun prepping our plots for planting this Spring. And watch for our upcoming plant sale in May.


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