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Create your Biodiversity Garden

Example of a massed planting for a biodiversity garden
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Lise Servant)

This year, why not invite nature into your yard by planting a variety of flora? And while you’re at it, spotlighting some native plants?

These will attract many beneficial insect and animal species.

In addition to creating an original garden that teems with life, you’ll be helping to protect biodiversity!

Four steps for attracting more life to your garden

Before you start to create your Biodiversity Garden, consult the fact sheet Basic principles of organic gardening. Also make sure to comply with the bylaws of your municipality.

Step 1 - Start with the right conditions

Well-adapted plants

Be sure to choose the right location for the right plant species. A plant well suited to the conditions of the site (sunshine, type of soil, hardiness zone and so on) is generally more vigorous and less vulnerable to pests, disease and drought.

Take account of the dimensions of the plant at maturity (height and width) so that you can provide it with the space needed for development.

Opt for plants known for being easy to grow and for their strong resistance to pests and pathogens.

Do not hesitate to ask for advice from specialists in nurseries and garden centres.

Step 2 - Cultivating biodiversity in the garden

A variety of flora

Diversifying plant species helps provide food, shelter and breeding grounds for beneficial insects, birds and many other small animals. Plant perennials, annuals, shrubs and deciduous and coniferous trees, depending on the space available. Make sure that plants are in bloom throughout the growing season and grow plants that produce seeds and fruit.

When choosing plants, see that you don’t introduce exotic invasive species.

More native species

Plants that originate from our region are well adapted to our climate. Moreover, they attract fauna that is also native, helping to improve your garden’s biodiversity. If they’re well suited to the conditions of your environment, don’t hesitate to choose them.

Do not remove wild plants from their natural habitat. Buy plants produced in nurseries,

For more information:

Step 3 - Tending the garden in an ecologically sound way

Spotlight on composting

Whether purchased or homemade, compost improves the quality of your garden’s soil and balances its pH. It also provides nutrients essential to plants.

For more information:

Natural fertilizers as needed

Natural fertilizers can be used to supplement compost. They are mainly used when plants are particularly greedy or in case of mineral deficiency.

For more information:

Invaluable mulches

Organic mulches, such as shredded dead leaves, keep the soil cool during the summer, nourish the soil as they decompose, and limit the growth of weeds. They also make up a plant cover that shelters a host of useful organisms in the garden.

For more information:

Smart use of water

Water your plants thoroughly, as needed (avoid superficial and frequent watering). At all times, respect your municipal by-laws on water use.

If possible, collect rainwater in barrels or containers. Be sure to cover these with a fine mesh to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

For more information:

Fall laziness

In the great majority of cases, cleaning up planting beds in the fall is not only unnecessary but undesirable as well. So leave the dead leaves and dried-out stems where they are: these allow a multitude of beneficial organisms to take shelter over the winter.

The seeds and fruit present on the plants at the end of the season are also an important food source for birds.

For more information:

Harmonious cultivation

When you attract more useful organisms to your garden (predator mites, insect predators and parasitoids, and so forth) and protect those that are already present, you’re supporting ecologically-friendly pest control.

Should you have problems with insect pests, disease or weeds, apply cultural, physical or mechanical means. Use low-impact pesticides only as a last resort.

For more information:

Step 4 - Enjoy the benefits of your garden

Progressive change

Even under ideal conditions, beneficial insects and useful fauna won’t move in overnight. Biodiversity takes time to flourish!

A garden for nature

Now that you have an environment conducive to biodiversity, enjoy the show and watch life thrive in your little corner of nature. Be aware that in contributing to the protection of biodiversity you’re taking part in the efforts under way to reduce urban heat islands and to heighten the resilience of the environment in the face of climate change. Another good reason to garden!

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