Salvia Small Talk: Backyard Wildlife Habitat
Across the nation, nearly 140,000 garden sites from apartment balconies to farms have achieved Certified Wildlife Habitat certification through the National Wildlife Federation. The application for certification requires participants to provide sources of food, water, protective cover and places where wildlife can raise their young.
Food sources include plants – providing seeds, fruits, nuts, berries and nectar -- as well as devices, such as bird feeders. Birdbaths, ponds, water gardens and streams are examples of acceptable water sources. Cover may be provided by trees, thickets of shrubbery, rock piles and birdhouses. Good homes include dense shrubs, other vegetation, nesting boxes and ponds. Dense Salvias, including varieties of Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha), appeal to butterflies as well as birds.