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Landscaping with Native Plants for Wildlife

Bitter Cherry (Prunus emarginata mollis) photographed by Jim Riley.

Common Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) photographed by Jim Riley. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

Additional Information

Native plants provide the food, shelter, and nesting habitat favored by our local wildlife. Make your garden a sanctuary for songbirds, hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife using native plants.

For all around practical advise, read Russell Link’s books. He describes different zones around your home, includes wildlife photos, construction diagrams, extensive plant lists (not all native), and tells who will use which plant part for what purpose. There’s even a “deer resistant” list though he cautions none are guaranteed in times of stress.

To attract wildlife, aim to provide the four essentials of habitat: food, water, cover, and space. Controlling nuisance pests means keeping pet food and kitchens waste out of reach. Bird feeders and houses need regular cleaning and maintenance. Use of garden chemicals will keep wildlife away and even harm them. Natural gardening benefits plants, critters, watersheds and people!

Backyard Wildlife & Habitat Resources

Link, Russell. Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle, 1999. Great, well organized, not all native plants.

Link, Russell.  Living with Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest.  University of Washington Press, Seattle, 2004.

Seattle Audubon Society has extensive resources on birds, butterflies, etc. Read PDF version of page 48, chapter four, Gardening for Life - An Inspirational Guide for Creating Healthy Habitat. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, 2003. Audubon At Home is a regional resource for creating backyard habitat.

National Audubon Society

King County Department of Natural Resources: See Events & Volunteers (native plant salvage and restoration work), Forestry (home forest steward program), Yard & Garden.

The Songbird Foundation promotes shade grown coffee and restoring urban habitat to keep the migratory song birds healthy that nest in the PNW and feast in Central American forests.

USDA National Resources Conservation Service has more information on backyard conservation.

Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife – check out “Habitat.” Join their Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Program which has west and east of Cascades versions. $10 total cost for instructional materials and a waterproof Sanctuary sign.

Wildlife Habitat Council: Order Backyard Conservation – Bringing Conservation from the Countryside to Your Backyard on-line, 2002.




Updated: March 8, 2015
Copyright 2000-2017 Washington Native Plant Society. All rights reserved.

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