I live just a few miles from the shore of the Salish Sea, on relatively flat land that was blanketed by a mostly coniferous forest up until the arrival of European settlers. It was a land of dense forests with gigantic trunks reaching skyward and a tangled understory of vine maples and shrubs. But that’s not what I see in the three acres of forest on our property. Our land has been logged, and now we look out on a forest of deciduous trees — bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), black cottonwood … [Read More...]
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Meet other passionate wildlife gardeners from around the country. Share your successes. Learn from your failures. Discover the best resources to help you create welcoming habitat for wildlife in your gardens with native plants so that you will attract more birds, butterflies, native pollinators, and other wildlife to your garden.
Hedgerows are important habitat for birds, mammals and a wide variety of species, providing nesting places, food, and safety. That said, not all hedgerows are created equal. Traditionally hedgerows were edges of fields allowed to fill in with ‘wild’ plants. Today, many hedgerows are comprised of a … [Read More...]
Autumn doesn’t come immediately to mind when I think of roses. Since my childhood, roses have been associated with warm summer days and with colorful blossoms emitting rich fragrances that waft across the garden on gentle breezes. We stop in the rose garden and inhale deeply of the heady … [Read More...]
I am beginning a one year wildflower envisioning event. For the next three hundred and sixty five days I am going to post to my twitter account, @KevinSonger, a photo or an illustration of a wildflower I encounter in body or mind. Today’s wildflower is Berlandiera subacaulis, Florida … [Read More...]
Native Bees, Butterflies, and other Insects
While collecting scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata) seeds in my garden this week I was pleasantly surprised to smell chocolate! Then I remembered that the beautiful Nuttall’s sunflowers (Helianthus nuttallii) that surrounded me have the amazing fragrance of chocolate. I’m sure the pollinators agree … [Read More...]
Diurnal moths fly during the day rather than at night like the majority of moths. Some are quite pretty and are often mistaken for butterflies. One way to differentiate between the butterflies and moths is to look at the antenna. Moths have feathered antenna and butterflies have clubbed … [Read More...]
The folks at Comedy Central contacted me earlier this year, and I'm pleased to say I'll be a correspondent for The Daily Show this fall as their native plant expert. As such, I find it necessary to end my time here at the most wonderful of places on the internet, where so many of us have shared … [Read More...]
Just writing the name House Wren Troglodytes aedon, stirs up angst within me. Dogged little creatures, these birds, like all native songbirds, are protected and it is illegal, according to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, to remove their completed nests of twigs, snake skins, spider casings, … [Read More...]
The male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinals) is the last but more easily recognized bird of the Cardinalidae family found here at Flower Hill Farm. My Bestiary continues with the namesake of this family. Cardinals, long after most birds have migrated, contently rest upon naked branches … [Read More...]
Keeping your wildlife garden blooming through the summer can be a challenge especially during periods of drought and high temperatures. The colors of the spring garden rapidly fade but there are ways to keep plants attractive and blooming all season long. First, your garden should include a variety … [Read More...]
Birds and Other Wildlife
In mid-June we proudly related the exciting story of Prothonotary Warblers nesting on our front porch. Now, in mid-July we are bursting as the “proud parents” of four successfully-fledged chicks! As we wrote in July, the parents were feeding the rapidly growing young every few minutes with all … [Read More...]
Just one of the many reasons why we garden for wildlife: Prothonotary Warblers breeding on our front porch! Imagine our excitement on May 17th when we heard the distinctive and emphatic song of a Prothonotary Warbler: “Sweet! Sweet! Sweet!” We each grabbed binoculars and headed out to see where … [Read More...]
The other day I was doing my daily lap around the pond (on foot, I didn’t swim it ;) ) when I nearly stepped on one of my slithering friends. A demure Peninsula Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis sauritus sackenii) was scouting through the littoral zone of the pond in search of something good to eat. This … [Read More...]