Notes From Your Gardener: Wildlife in the Gardens


While we enjoy gardens for their beautiful blooms, attractive foliage, and fragrant blossoms, a variety of other animals enjoy these spaces too! When out working in the parks it’s not uncommon for us to come across wildlife that have made their home in the lush greenery of the gardens.  

Into the Garden Jungle

The variety of perennial plants that grow in the gardens provide a myriad of species with both food and shelter during the summer months. We see many different pollinators attracted to the nectar and pollen of blooming flowers, caterpillars munching away on leaves, and even birds that like to feed on seeds of the flower that have finished blooming.  

Baby monarch caterpillar

If you worry that attracting insects might be a problem – have no fear! A lush garden also attracts predators of these insects, things like praying mantis, lady bugs, friendly spiders, birds, and small mammals which all help to keep the garden ecosystem in balance. 

Praying Mantis

Garden Spider on Baptesia

 The dense foliage of perennial plants also provides great habitat where different critters can hide from predators, take refuge from the hot summer sun, and even raise their babies!  

Bird Nest in Peonies

It was a delightful surprise last summer when I came across this bird’s nest in a peony in the Highland Park Entry Garden! I was careful not to disturb the nest once I knew it was there, but I was able to check on it periodically to see that the eggs hatched and within a few short weeks the baby sparrows had all successfully fledged from the nest. Maybe they’ll come back to start families of their own this year!