Naturescape Gardens - When You Plant One, They Will Come

     Naturescape _images


A naturescape garden is a garden that welcomes wildlife. Within Calgary it is quite common to see many varieties of birds, butterflies, moths, wasps, bumblebees, insects, spiders, hares, jackrabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and occasionally a frog, garter snake, fox or skunk. 

In planning your own naturescape garden incorporate elements that attract the widest variety of urban wildlife possible while providing the basic requirements of food, water and shelter.  Avoid the use chemical pesticides, as these will disrupt the balance you are trying to achieve.


Water is an essential ingredient to a successful naturescape garden. It can be as humble as a bird bath or as elaborate as a pond. 

Food and shelter is best provided by the plantings you chose to have in your garden. As long as your plant choices produce some type of flower, nectar, seed, cone or fruit, it will become a home to insects and a food source to wildlife. 

The following list of plants will attract humming birds, bees, butterflies and moths for the nectar, the seed capsules provide both fresh and winter food for birds, while hares may nibble its barkand it is a shelter and nesting site for a variety of birds. 

Plant suggestions:

  • Picea glauca (white spruce)
  • Sorbus americana (mountain ash)
  • Salix spp. (willow)
  • Elaeagnus commutate (wolf willow)
  • Potentilla fruticosa
  • Delphinium, Opuntia (prickly pear cactus)
  • Paeonia spp. (Peony)
  • Fuchsia
  • Cleome
  • Tagetes (marigolds)

Design Elements

In designing your space keep in mind that you will get the most wildlife in your yard perimeters, where there are changes in height from trees to shrubs on down to perennials and groundcovers. Plant as many different things as you can to bring in a variety of different animal species. Include some focal points in your naturescape garden such as:

  • A brush pile made of shrub and tree prunings that provide shelter for lots of wildlife friends, from mosquito eating spiders, to hares hiding from you. 
  • A butterfly puddle of exposed damp clay with some salt added to help replenish needed minerals. 
  • A bat box, butterfly box or an underground rabbit or hare house to help these creatures through our hard Calgary winters.

Enjoy your time sitting, watching and listening in your newly "alive" garden while these natural workers go about their activities and keep your garden healthy.

In 2006, the Society worked with the City of Calgary's Intergrated Pest Management team to create a naturescape garden in SW Calgary. The garden is no longer open to the public but you can review the design and plant list in PDF versions (found below) and be inspired to begin welcoming nature's friends into your garden.


Naturescape Display Garden-Map 174K

This is a map of the Naturescape Display Garden. Numbers correlate with the Naturescape Plant List (found below).

Naturescape Display Garden - Plant List 75K 

Botanical names of plants are listed in alphabetical order. Common names are also included.