When Americans think of fall color, one of the first trees to come to mind is the maple, particularly our stately east-coast native sugar maple (Acer saccharum). But it’s still summer and I live on the west coast, yet we’re already enjoying some spectacular reds from the whirligig seeds of vine maple (Acer circinatum). … [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.
It's a fact. Plants want to grow up, become mature, and raise a family; and that's exactly what they do unless we make it impossible for them. Which can definitely happen. However, in this mini garden, things did grow. They really grew. And, true confessions; things didn't turn out the way I … [Read More...]
Next to the patio I have a patch of Paintedleaf a.k.a. Fire-On-The-Mountain a.k.a. Wild Poinsettia (Poinsettia cyathophora; synonym: Euphorbia cyathophora). This area gets morning sun and begins to move into the shadow of the carport in early afternoon. It is amazing the amount of activity that … [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...]
Native Bees, Butterflies, and other Insects
I have talked about bumble bees on these pages several times. The subject is worthy of more than one post so I am adding one more. In previous posts I covered the bumble bee's life cycle, their intelligence, their value in the garden and their enemies. Now I want to discuss the imitators of bumble … [Read More...]
On my twice weekly runs on the Monarch Spur Trail, a former railroad bed turned popular walking/biking/running route that threads through my small town, I count monarchs on the patches of milkweed that have sprung up alongside the trail as part of our town's trailside habitat restoration … [Read More...]
I think there’s a myth out there that good garden design for humans can not also be good garden design for other species (and other humans, in the case of filtering groundwater, cleaning the air, etc). It’s not an either or proposition. Speaking in generalizations, many (not all) garden … [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...]
Several years ago I wrote Part ONE of this post, “Spring Cleanup, Don’t Overdo It.” Part ONE addressed the first sweep through the garden, breaking the previous growing season’s dead perennial stalks, gathering them up, and laying them loosely somewhere safe, where the coming year’s butterflies and … [Read More...]
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) is a stoutly built songbird of the Cardinalidae family. The male's beauty of black, white, and red is surprising especially below the black throat where red escapes a bib and trickles down the center of his breast like paint flowing free from form on … [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...]