Native plants and wildlife have been coexisting and evolving together for eons. This co-evolution continues today but the reduction of native plant communities over the years has resulted in the loss of a large portion of native habitat for wildlife and insects.
We focus on growing and passing along native plants and seeds to our customers for a variety of reasons. Not only are natives beautiful, low maintenance, low water use, and effective for weed and erosion control, but they also provide excellent habitat for wildlife. These pockets of native plants in yards and pasture link other remnant native plant communities and help support and promote these wildlife populations. We rely on the birds, bees, moths, butterflies, and other insects for pollination, as predators of pests, and as food for wildlife and humans. All species are linked in this web of life and so by providing a healthy environment for them we can help promote a healthy environment for wildlife and humans.
A variety of wildlife inhabits and utilizes the short-grass prairie in our region. Rodents, deer, elk, moose, hawks, bobcats, mountain lion, badger, coyotes, owls, songbirds, and insects are just a few species that interact and live in these dissected prairie remnants. By providing these animals and insects additional habitat through native plantings we can encourage a healthier and more balanced ecosystem.
“To have butterflies we have to make butterflies” (Tallamy 2007). Butterflies are important pollinators of many natives and also provide food for other wildlife. Nectar for butterflies can come from a variety of native and non-native plants, but the larvae that create the next generation of butterfly need host plants as well. Studies have shown that many butterflies are host specific meaning that only one species or genus will host one species of native butterfly. For example, Boisduval’s blue (Icaricia icarioides ssp. pembina) exclusively uses one Lupinus species per population. In our area they appear to use the silky lupine (Lupinus sericeus). So, in order to have good diversity of butterflies there needs to be a variety of natives for them.
Birds eat berries and seeds as adults, but in order to feed their young, birds rely on insects for nourishment. Pound for pound, most insect species contain more protein than beef. Butterfly larvae are a good source of protein for the young birds. For example, the western and mountain bluebirds nourish their young with herbivorous insects that have captured the energy stored by native plants.
We often think about honey bees as important pollinators but we have many species of native bees that play an important role in the ecosystem as well. Research shows that native bees find native plants four times more attractive than non-natives (Tallamy 2007). Native bees play an important role in our lives by pollinating native plants and they are also frequent pollinators of our garden vegetables and food crops in agricultural fields. It is clear that there are many benefits to growing native plants. Among these benefits are preserving the genetic diversity of native plants, having an abundance of beautiful flowers and foliage that support the entire ecosystem, and enjoying the beneficial insects and wildlife that these plants are sure to attract. These are just a few great reasons to dedicate a portion of the landscape to natives and to support efforts to preserve and restore native plant communities in natural settings.
Stein, S. 1993. Noah's Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Backyards. Houghton Mifflin Company.
Tallamy, D. W. 2007. Bringing Nature Home. Timber Press.
|“Like it or not, gardeners have become important players in the management of our nation’s
wildlife.” (Tallamy 2007)
“All of us, layperson and professional alike, fail to ask how creatures other than ourselves can share the goodness of the land. Yet if we don’t, not only they but we will suffer.” (Stein 1993)
“Evidence suggests that…most species could live quite nicely with humans if their most basic ecological needs were met. Yes some species such as the cougar, gray wolf, and ivory-billed woodpecker are just too reclusive to become our fellows. But countless others could live sustainably with us if we would just design our living spaces to accommodate them.” (Tallamy 2007)
1461 Thorn Creek Road, Genesee, Idaho 83832