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Our Habitat Garden

April 22, 2010

This week marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. In light of that, I would like to tell you about one of the conservation projects we have here in the park.

A few years ago, Busch Gardens partnered with the National Wildlife Federation to create wildlife habitat areas in our park. I was so excited because this was an opportunity to share a commitment to the environment. Also, our guests would now be able to see that a habitat garden is something easily done at home. All you need to do is provide food, water and shelter to create a space where wildlife can and will visit.

Creating a habitat garden of your own is also a great way to spend time with your kids. Perhaps you can put together a bluebird house and watch to see what birds nest there. You could even take a hike and look for flowers or bugs to identify.

In our own Habitat Garden, many of the plants chosen are native plants. However, just as a homeowner wouldn’t remove every plant when starting a new project, we chose to keep some of the existing trees and shrubs, and build the garden around them. This allowed us to provide more shelter for the wildlife than would have been possible with new trees that are only a few inches in diameter.

Signs throughout Busch Gardens' Habitat Garden show guests how to make their own backyards a wildlife habitat.

Like many home gardeners, we’ve found that some of the plants didn’t turn out to be what we’d hoped for. We had to move them to more appropriate sites for their size or habit. We also had to think about the wildlife side of the equation. The rabbits were so enamored with our blueberries that we had to grow them in pots. We waited until they had a thick cane diameter to interplant them with bayberries. So much for having berries for the birds …

Hopefully, on your next visit to the park, you’ll have a few minutes to enjoy our Habitat Garden, and maybe even find some ideas to take home. It’s situated near Lorikeet Glen in Jack Hanna’s Wild Reserve.

Horticulturist at Busch Gardens

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Marcus permalink
    April 22, 2010 12:53 pm

    The habitat garden is one of my favorite parts of the park and is missed by so many guests hurrying through from France to Ireland. It is one of those secret spaces that make the park so beautiful!

  2. April 23, 2010 8:21 am

    The gardens look beautiful.

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