A new kind of flower has arrived in Fort Collins Old Town Square: native ones. This year, the City of Fort Collins partnered with Audubon Rockies to plant its first all-native garden bed in Old Town Square. The garden is part of Audubon Rockies Habitat Hero Program, which provides Coloradans with the knowledge and resources to plant bird-friendly gardens with native plants.

“Bird-friendly gardens beautify our community and connect it to nature,” says Jamie Weiss, Habitat Hero coordinator. “As Northern Colorado’s population grows, it’s increasingly important to provide habitat for wildlife. Bird-friendly gardens are a great way to do so.

“Visitors can see the new garden in the walkway between Ben and Jerry’s and Bondi Beach Bar and Grill.”

A volunteer helps plant the bird-friendly garden in Fort Collins Old Town Square. Photo by Evan Barrientos/Audubon

 

Penstemon bloom in the new bird-friendly garden in Fort Collins Old Town Square. Photo by Evan Barrientos/Audubon

 

Additionally, the City of Loveland planted a bird-friendly garden last year at the Loveland Visitor Center. Now in full bloom, this garden aims to inspire people to welcome birds into their communities.

People who want to garden with native plants can get started by visiting Audubon’s Native Plants Database (www.audubon.org/native-plants), where they can find species native to their ZIP code. For Northern Coloradans, Weiss recommends pasque flower (Pulsatilla patens), beebalm (Monarda fistulosa), stiff goldenrod (Oligoneuron rigidum), and Golden Currant (Ribes aureum). This selection provides food to pollinators throughout the growing season, is readily found in nurseries, and is easy to grow. For more resources on starting your own bird-friendly garden, visit www.rockies.audubon.org/programs/habitat-hero-education.