Saturday, January 20, 2018

Make your Garden an Animal Oasis

August 27, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog

Sometimes it’s us versus nature… and sometimes it’s us helping nature. You may not want critters in your house, but it can be a good idea to help them out in your garden, especially when it’s really hot and dry. Sometimes giving them what they need outside can keep them out of your house, so it’s win/win!

Going BattyBird bath, John Silva, The Fix-It Professionals
Remember my tips for dealing with bats from our last article? Bats are really good guys, eating literally tons of bugs like mosquitoes, so you want them around… just not inside your attic. Putting up a bat house in a nearby tree gives them the home they’re looking for away from your home. It’s a lot of fun to watch them come out just after the sun goes down, and if you listen close, you can hear their squeaks and chirps as they gobble up bugs.

For the Birds
Bird feeders and bird baths are common garden accessories, and people love to watch the colorful parade that comes and goes. In times of heat and drought, bird baths can be an important oasis to help keep birds alive. Sometimes you’ll see birds with their mouths open when it’s really hot. They get heat stress just like you do, and need to drink and cool off. Since they drink and bathe in the same water, clean out your bird bath often and make sure it doesn’t go dry.

If you prefer, install a trickling fountain that the birds can enjoy. The movement of the water helps keep it fresher so you don’t need to use chemicals. If it gets a little green algae in it, just give it a quick rinse like you would a bird bath.

Make a Home That’s… “Kneedeep”
Along with bats and birds that eat insects, frogs are a terrific friend to have in the garden, and are an important part of the food web. Frogs eat many kinds of pests and are a real treat to watch. Many people find their twilight calls soothing to listen to. The trick is that they need a place that’s wet all the time. They can share the trickling fountain with the birds if it’s big enough, but they need a protected space so that bigger birds don’t eat them!

The perfect frog habitat is a small pond. A lined half wine barrel with water plants in it and a little bit of shade also works well. The frogs can stay wet and eat the mosquitoes that try and visit the water. If mosquito larvae are a problem in your mini pond, you can get free “mosquito fish” from the county mosquito abatement office that will eat them. Just top off the water every few days. Many kinds of frogs are threatened here in California because of pesticides and habitat loss, so you would be helping out our local ecosystem by giving them a safe home. 

Don’t Forget the Butterflieswomen in garden, John Silva, The Fix-It Professionals
One of the most beautiful sights in any garden is the butterfly visitor. They’re looking for flower nectar and plants for their eggs, which can be hard for them to find in a drought. Help them out by planting the things they need, which is different for each type of butterfly. Some drought-tolerant plants that local butterflies like are fennel, butterfly weed (Asclepias), lantana, cone flowers (Echinacea) and butterfly bush (Buddleia). You could even plant the taller ones next to your frog habitat to give it the shade it needs.

Give The Fix-It Professionals a call today to schedule an appointment to make your garden a wildlife oasis. We would love to help you install a bat house, frog pond, or a fountain, and to help you add new plants to help attract those lovely summer butterflies.

Read on for our latest special.   

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