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News & Events
Retirees Make Sure to Provide Water for Garden Creatures
When spring comes in a few months, the soil will be broken for new gardens of flowers and vegetables. Gardening can be a fun and satisfying hobby for active older adults at Westminster Village. Yes, you have people who take care of the landscaping in your community, but a private garden in your yard or on your patio can be a beautiful addition. And while you’re thinking about the care and feeding of your garden plants, you’ll also want to think about water for the creatures that are important to your garden.
Many seniors already know how to care for visiting birds
Birds like the hummingbird can pollinate your garden flowers, so they are important. But even if you don’t have a garden, you may want to entice birds to visit your backyard. Birds need food and water as well as a place to bathe. A bird bath can be a source of interest and a necessary tool for birds.
You could go to any lawn and garden center to purchase a bird bath, but that’s too easy. The internet has multiple ideas for creating your own. And the DIY ones are so much more interesting than what you might buy. Some of the ideas are as easy combining an old post or stake to a deep kitchen bowl to make your bird bath.
Once you have a bird bath, make sure that you clean it and change the water at least once a month. Standing water will attract mosquitos; one creature that you can do without in your garden.
Bees are important to the retiree’s garden
“About 20,000 kinds of bees pollinate more plants than any other species,” according to the Illinois Farm Bureau. Gardeners depend on bees, so you should ensure that plenty of them visit your garden. But like birds, the bees need water to drink. Unlike birds, bees can drown in open water sources like lakes and ponds or even rain puddles. They need to be able to sit on a dry rock or “island” perch and drink.
Bees don’t store water but they do use it for various things in their hive. Gardeners should create an area for bees to gather water and/or drink. You might use a shallow dish, a clay saucer or even a bird bath. Cover the bottom of your dish or saucer with various sized rocks and then add water.
Master gardeners recommend that you integrate your perch into your design. One rain storm could fill the vessel with water causing the bees to drown. You need to have corks or something on which the bees can stand to drink their water. One author suggested placing the bottom half of an egg carton that won’t sink so that bees have somewhere to perch.
Seniors can create a butterfly garden with butterfly puddles
You can do a similar thing for butterflies in your yard or garden. The butterfly watering hole is called a “butterfly puddler.” Use the shallow bowl, but add sand to the bottom. Saturate the sand with water, and leave no standing water. You can bury things like a glass jar or cork in the sand for the butterfly perches. If you need help with your design, experts explain the process on websites like YouTube.
Birds, bees and butterflies among your flowers and shrubs will allow you to enjoy your outdoor garden all spring and summer long. Your garden will be the perfect spot to enjoy some quiet time when you’re finished with a busy day filled with activities and events.
-Elaine of the Westminster Village Blog Team