At Elachee, the boulders have natural crevices that hold water and attract the honeybees.
Anyone with a sprinkler system in their garden has probably seen birds taking advantage of the spray for bathing and preening. Where do they find water on the other six days of the week, between irrigation cycles? What about other garden wildlife visitors: butterflies, bees, dragonflies, lizards and many other charismatic mini-fauna?
Many bird and butterfly gardens are loaded with flowers, shrubs, and berries to provide nectar, pollen, seeds and berries, as well as safe hiding and nesting places. An often-missing element in this type of garden is a water source.
Birds, bees, butterflies, dragonflies all need a regular source of water, with safe places to land and drink such as damp moss and stones. Honeybees need to collect water to keep the hive cool in hot weather. Damp moss is popular with bees. Butterflies need a damp patch of river gravel or mud to collect minerals for their life cycle. Birds need a larger place to splash and bathe, and they are especially attracted by misting, spraying, or small splashing water elements.
Here at Fockele Garden Company, we are creating gardens to attract wildlife visitors, and our clients are fully enjoying the added activity in their garden.
“I sat in the garden this morning-everything seems to love it,” says Robbie McCormac about her bird fountain. “The birds, chipmunks and dragonflies like the water. There was a little chickadee clinging to the side of the large stone, waiting his turn for a bath. A goldfinch was colorful. The best was a hummingbird, a yellow sulfur butterfly and a gulf fritillary- all on the Aniscanthus at the same time. I LOVE that plant! We should have planted more…we should have designed this water garden years ago.”
A water source for such creatures can fit into the garden as an attractive center piece or as a modest addition to an already established pollinator garden. A consistent water source will increase the number and variety of wildlife that visit your garden.
Elachee Nature Center included a misting system in their honeybee garden. A series of natural boulders were installed along with small plants and moss. The boulders have natural crevices and little basins that hold water in the rain. The boulders are misted regularly during the growing season, with just enough water to wet the moss and fill the tiny niches in the stone. Honeybees as well as many other species use this as a regular water source.
Robbie McCormac’s garden features the same idea of regularly misted boulders arranged around a center boulder that is a recirculating fountain. It has a natural deep indentation that serves as a small pool. The water recirculates by seeping over the side into a hidden reservoir.
At Lanier Village Estates, we added boulders with natural indentations to the property’s existing Monarch garden. A regular misting of pockets of river mud and sand allow butterflies to land and collect minerals. During the heat of summer, this small area will be misted three to four times a day for a few minutes, just to wet everything down.
There are many ways — from complex to very simple — to enrich the beauty of your garden by adding water sources to attract and nourish wildlife. Our expert landscapers at Fockele are happy to help you explore the possibilities, and add a whole new level of enjoyment to your garden.
The McCormac garden has a recirculating fountain that provides the water for attracting wildlife.
In Lanier Village Estates Monarch Garden, a regular misting of pockets of river mud and sand allow butterflies to land and collect minerals.