Looking to Nature for Creative Solutions

I like to think of my home garden as Nature.  Nature is never far away when you have a garden, no matter how small.  The flowers attract butterflies and humming birds, berries and seeds attract birds and squirrels and some of my plants even attract deer!  I do not always like the fact that as soon as my flower bulbs start growing they get munched off, but I do like to have the deer around.  Having these insects and animals around is somewhat of an ecotherapy for me and brings a smile to my face each day.  Watching the deer hover on their hind legs to reach the leaves on the lowest branches of my neighbor’s cherry tree is quite funny and you know what they say "laughter is the best medicine".

I like to turn to Nature when I am faced with landscaping challenges such as the best way to layout my garden.  When there is a steep slope in your garden it is of course possible to have costly retaining walls installed but it can be of great help to look around you to see how nature solves these kinds of problems.  By looking at what plants grow naturally on slopes you will be surprised to what options you actually have.  

For instance: the Sumac (Rhus), Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia), Seaberry (Hippophae), Wolf Willow (Elaeagnus commutata), Yarrow (Achilea), Juniper, Pine, Snow in Summer (Cerastium tomentosum) and other ground covering perennials can offer great support on your slopes to prevent erosion and require less maintenence because many of these are native plants (more ornamental cultivars of these native varieties will also work).

Another challenge may be coping with drought and conserving water. Dry areas in nature do not typically show lush, green lawns. Instead you will see lots of different plants.  Many with silvery-colored leaves and gracious grasses.  Xeriscaping is a practice that uses more local and climatized plants that can cope best in your specific region without much water or care.  Because Bylands grows everything locally we have a lot of perennials to choose from that adapt beautifully to our Canadian zones.  Daylilies, Catmint, Lavender, Sedum, Coneflower and Salvia just to name a few. All of these have colorful flowers that attract bees and butterflies that work perfectly in most Canadian growing regions.

In a way gardening is creating your own patch of Nature right at your doorstep. Working in the garden and working with plants gives me a feeling of being closer to nature. Even though it can be hard work at times, it gives a feeling of serenity and it is very rewarding to watch plants grow. As I mentioned, no matter how small your garden is, even if it is a few containers on your patio, this connection brings Nature closer.

Happy Gardening!

For more ideas ask your local garden center professionals and make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest for other help tips and hints.


Guest post by Floortje - Bylands Inventory Coordinator & Social Media Communications

I am originally from the Netherlands, where I worked for a municipal parks department and the promotion organization for the Dutch Nursery Stock Industry. My husband and I are still in the process of building our garden as we moved into our house just two years ago and I didn’t like all the plant decisions the previous owners made :) Besides gardening there are a number of renovations going on in our house. Not to forget our dog, three cats and two horses, who keep us more than busy!

photo credit: Noukka Signe via photopin cc