For the longest time, my husband and I had talked about planting bamboo along the back fence of our yard to make it look better. Our back fence is two separate back fences that belong to the homes behind ours. One is a wood fence that’s old and falls down frequently. The other is a rusty metal fence. They aren’t the same height. It just doesn’t make for a pretty site when you look out the kitchen window into the yard. But, we never got around to doing it, and I’m glad we didn’t.

I learned a few years ago that unless you plant the right kind of bamboo and are extremely careful about maintaining it, bamboo is an invasive plant that can spread easily into other people’s yards. It chokes out native plants. It’s very difficult to get rid of once it’s planted. It’s not good for the ecosystem in my region.

Until I learned that, I never thought about keeping my yard’s ecosystem in mind when planting anything. Now I make sure that any perennials I plant complement the ecosystem in my yard, not fight it.

The next few weekends will be big gardening weekends for most people. If you want to keep your yard’s ecosystem in mind, here are a few things you’ll want to read.

  • My friend Carole over at Ecosystem Gardening has created the Ultimate Guide to Birdscaping Your Garden. If you want to attract birds to your yard, birds that will benefit other plants by eating harmful bugs, she’s rounded up 197 tips to do it.
  • You might want to plant several extra bunches of parsley in your garden this year. Parsley attracts beneficial, predatory insects. Natural News explains parsley’s many benefits like attracting wasps that kill tomato hornworm.
  • I have a love/hate relationship with the rabbits in my backyard. In the early morning when I’m sitting at my picnic table drinking my coffee and writing in my journal, I love to watch them running and playing. Along with all the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks out there are the same table, it’s almost as if I’m sitting in the middle of a Disney cartoon. But, as soon as I see one of them chomping on anything but the clover in my grass, I’m no longer so fond of them. Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens has some good suggestions for beautiful native plants that rabbits stay away from.
  • It’s not just non-edible plants that are good for your garden. There are many edible plants that attract pollinators. Squash and radishes are some of the 10 edible plants that will attract pollinators.
Enjoy your weekend!

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Gardening with your yard's ecosystem in mind
Make sure you take into consideration what works naturally with the bugs, birds, animals and native plants in your yard.