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 project. Yesterday as I chugged along, watching for monarchs, I thought about showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) and its relationships with monarch butterflies and the many other insects that visit its … [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 feels like mid-August in Bellingham, not the first of July. The sky has been a clear blue most of the last 30 days and temperatures have been in the 70s and 80s. The last time we got more than a few sprinkles of precipitation was a quarter-inch of rain on May 5 and a tenth of an inch on June 2. … [Read More...]
How do I start? Many people wrestle with this question after deciding they want to transform their yard into a native plant garden. When Susan and Jim Graham first made that decision, they described their existing yard as “ mostly turf grass with an azalea mustache;” a look typical of many … [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...]
Native Bees, Butterflies, and other Insects
I was excited to discover that we have a large patch of stinging nettles, Urtica dioica, on our property. While brushing against any part of the plant with bare skin results in a sharp sting and an itch that persists for hours, the plant is a remarkable food source. Early in the spring, when … [Read More...]
The monarch season is coming, and gardeners throughout the country are getting ready to welcome them with milkweeds lovingly cultivated in their gardens. They also brace themselves to battle whatever ills may affect the caterpillars. Milkweed bugs and milkweed beetles are seen with hostility. The … [Read More...]
It’s colorful. It spreads slowly. It’s fragrance is amazing. It fixes nitrogen in the soil. It attracts pollinators. It is the larval host for several species of moths. One of our most commonly found native wildflowers, Lupine is undoubtedly one of our most beautiful. I am continually delighted … [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...]
Last month my post showed the power of love in my native plant and wildlife garden with photos of an array of mating critters. This month it seems the seeds have been planted, so to speak, and the eggs are arriving. Most obvious would be the bluebirds, that have had several broods each … [Read More...]
Birds and Other Wildlife
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...]
Continuing on with the Cardinalidae family as life is bursting open here on our southeast facing New England hillside habitat. The rich red of the Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) complements the fresh greens of spring when he returns via his flight across the Gulf of Mexico from South American … [Read More...]