Enjoy being surrounded by flowers and greenery, and feeling closer to nature? The Biodiversity Garden encourages you to plant a variety of flora, to integrate species that are native to Québec, and to adopt environmentally friendly gardening practices. That’s how you’ll attract a wide range of fauna that are useful to your garden.
What are the criteria for getting Biodiversity Garden certification?
If it meets the three criteria listed below, your Biodiversity Garden is eligible for certification.
- Presents a diversity of plants – trees, shrubs, conifers, perennials and annuals, depending on available space – to meet the needs of a variety of living organisms.
- Is composed of plants producing flowers or fruit that attract and feed pollinators, birds and/or small mammals throughout the entire season.
- Is maintained in way that respects biodiversity. To understand what this type of gardening involves: How to plant an ecologically responsible garden.
How to make a Biodiversity Garden?
There’s nothing simpler than making a Biodiversity Garden: you just have to choose a few indigenous plants, plant them in the right place, and apply a few ecological-gardening principles. Ready? Let’s take a closer look at all this…
Step 1 – Garden “with” nature
Gardening “with” nature is exciting and gratifying. And if you work with existing conditions, rather than struggling against them, everything gets easier.
Before choosing your plants and their locations, take the time to analyze the characteristics of your site. An example? Observe the sunniest areas: nectar-producing plants placed in full sunlight have a better chance of attracting pollinators.
Here are some questions to ask yourself in sketching a portrait of your site:
- How big is the area that I’d like to set up?
- What direction does my garden face?
- How many hours of sunshine does my garden enjoy?
- Which elements (fence, mature tree, neighboring building) risk creating shade?
- What are the characteristics of the soil (texture, composition, richness, PH)? The Internet is bursting with tips on how to do a basic analysis at home with glass jars.
- What hardiness zone is my garden located in? The Canadian territory is divided into 9 zones of plant growth. Find out the one for your area so that you can choose appropriate plants.
- Are there spots where water accumulates naturally on my land? Plants that like damp soil will be happy there.
- Does my garden receive visitors (wildlife, pollinators) whose presence I could encourage through the right choice of plants?
- Do you see much green nearby, or will you be pioneers in the immediate area? If you’re the latter, be patient: wildlife will eventually locate this new oasis of greenery.
- How big will the chosen plants be when they reach maturity?
Portrait in hand, and an alliance successfully forged with your small patch of land, now you’re ready to do some looking and select the plants that will be happiest in your little corner of paradise!
Step 2 – Cultivating biodiversity
Life attracts life! Diversity attracts biodiversity. Creating a garden means giving birth to a small world filled with life, reproducing on a small scale the richness of natural ecosystems. It can feed, shelter and facilitate the breeding of useful insects, birds and other small animals.
Plants for feeding
Choose varied nectar-producing plants offering successive flowerings. Whether they’re perennials or annuals, they’ll cook up an all-you-can-eat “floral buffet” that will be prized by pollinators throughout the season.
Plants for lodging
Provide a host of possible “accommodations” by varying the height of plants. Depending on available space, mix grasses with shrubs, leafy trees with conifers. If they produce seeds and fruit, they’ll be doing double duty: pantry and housing!
If space, time spent in the garden and your energy permit, reduce the grassy area and increase the surface area of flowerbeds.
Plants for welcoming
Like good friends, native plants attract and support native wildlife. If they are adapted to the conditions of your garden, don’t hesitate to select them. Many native species are produced and available at nurseries. This is a way to avoid removing them from their natural environments.
With a little luck and a lot of patience, some useful insects, birds or other small animals will find ideal conditions for breeding in your garden. You could be witness to life renewing itself all around you!
Browse through these lists of recommended plants:
Finally, be curious and get information when making your choice of plants. Make sure not to introduce invasive exotic species.
Step 3 – Tending the garden in an ecologically sound way
Follow our advice and tips for making an environmentally friendly garden.
Did you know that …
You need show tolerance and patience to attract biodiversity into your garden. Plants and animals don’t just move in overnight. Also, the presence of these new guests may not fit your notion of the ideal garden. The leaves of your plants risk being nibbled on by caterpillars – but you will eventually get to observe the butterflies. Bees and other pollinators will forage your flowers. Birds will dig into your flowerbeds for worms and insects. Don’t look at these intrusions negatively; rather, consider them a sign that you’ve done your work and your garden is becoming a space for life!