Black-eyed Susan, echinacea and phlox populate a bountiful backyard pollinator garden in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
AS I WRITE THIS NOTE to you, snow blankets the ground outside my window, and hungry cardinals, sparrows and chickadees munch seed from my feeders. Like me, they’re probably dreaming of spring, when native plants in neighborhood yards will lure scores of insects that will enliven the birds’ feast—and also benefit gardens by pollinating plants and preying on pests.
In this, our annual Garden for Wildlife issue, we celebrate how food gardens can nourish not only people but a host of native bird and insect species (Homegrown for Good). To help you navigate mosquito season, we offer tips on how to control these pests without using chemicals that can harm other wildlife (When Pest Comes to Shove). And we explore how to spot and possibly slow the spread of invasive earthworms, which can seriously deplete soils (Too Much Wiggle Room).
These pages also celebrate the power of gardening to soothe the human soul—as anyone who has turned a spade of earth must surely understand. One ambitious effort in Philadelphia has transformed 50 once-empty lots into green oases that nurture wildlife and local residents (Empty Lots ... of Opportunity). And horticultural therapy programs are improving the health of people ranging from folks in assisted living to prisoners to people with disabilities (Seeds of Recovery).
Audrey Hepburn is quoted as saying, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Let’s all believe together.
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