If you build it, they will come!

They say cleanliness is next to godliness… but Mother Nature certainly wouldn’t agree!

It may look messy, but a brush pile – an accumulation of branches of various lengths, dead leaves, a few logs, maybe other vegetable waste – makes an excellent shelter for a whole host of garden friends.

All sorts of interesting animals will be attracted to a brush pile.

For example, small birds will shelter there in bad weather and many butterflies look for exactly this kind of habitat so they can overwinter. Toads, shrews, ground beetles and other nocturnal animals will find a brush pile an ideal spot to spend the day. And woodpeckers come to feed on larvae hiding under the bark of the dead branches.

You don’t have to place your “wildlife brush pile” in full view if you fear that your neighbors may complain. Put the pile in a back corner, in a wooded area, or in some other inconspicuous location. Don’t worry: no matter where you place it, your animal friends will find it.

Inviting Nature to Your Garden

It is through small gestures like this – others include planting flowers for butterflies and bees, leaving flower stalks standing in the fall and winter to feed birds, letting leaves remain where they fall in a wooded spot to serve as a hiding place for salamanders and earthworms, etc. – that you can re-invite nature in your garden… and into your life!20160826C

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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