Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

It is a cold and rainy day in my neck of the woods. Under most circumstances not the ideal way to ring in the new year. However, there is always beauty to be found if you keep your eyes open, especially with mother nature around. What a character she is! And, so today as I was braving the weather walking out to the mailbox I noticed the rain drops hanging like ornaments from the cherry trees. What beauty! It reminded me of John Updike ...

Rain is grace;
Rain is the sky condescending to the earth;
Without rain, there would be no life.

And so on this gloomy, rainy, cold and foggy day I am wishing that each day of the coming year be vibrant and new, bringing along many reasons for celebration. Wishing 12 months of happiness, 52 weeks of fun, 365 days of laughter, 8,760 hours of goodness, 525,600 minutes of joy and 31,536,000 seconds of success and wishing all a very happy new year! May each day fill your life with happiness and bright cheer and bring you joy and prosperity for the whole year.

Life is beautiful! Enjoy it!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter visitor

Our winter visitor is back ...

Today was a beautiful winter day and my boys and I were out doing some yard maintenance this afternoon. Well, mostly I was doing the work but they would rake some leaves in between playing in them and climbing trees. After filling all the bird feeders, we decided to check out one of our bird houses (lovingly made by my father-in-law). Last spring we found a visitor in our bird house and wanted to see if it was back. Much to our delight out flew our flying squirrel. He hung on the tree for a while ... long enough to get some photos and really study him before he scurried back into his "nesting box". He should be all set for the winter ... a warm home and plenty to eat. Flying squirrels are very social animals but are nocturnal so it is rare to see them. They eat nuts, seeds, insects, fruits from trees and shrubs, berries, fungi and birds eggs. By the sounds of it he should have an entire buffet in our backyard.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Japanese Maple ... Happy Thanksgiving

We went away for the Thanksgiving holiday and while we were gone the Japanese Maple that we planted last year decided to show off. After unpacking the car, I looked out the kitchen window to see a mass of beautiful, bright red leaves just glowing. I took some pictures early this morning to share.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

the beginings of gardening for wildlife

Today I am sure no one needs to be told that the more birds a yard can
support, the fewer insects there will be to trouble the gardener the following
year.- Thalassa Cruso

I have lots of birds which grace my yard...Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Nuthatches, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Great Horned Owl, Carolina Chickadee, Red-tailed Hawk, Mourning Dove, and Ruby-throated Hummingbird to name a few. For the most part the birds are feed from my many feeders or what nature provides in the form of rabbits, mice, snakes, insects....

My desire to expand the offerings by gardening for wildlife has resulted in researching various plant options that will attract birds by providing a source of food, protection and place to raise their family. My most recent purchase is a Callicarpa 'Early Amethyst' bush for my woodland garden. It has very showy purple fruit right now that will last into winter. In summer it will add some color in the garden with its lilac flowers. I am very excited about this new addition and have already witnessed birds inspecting the berries!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

fern boxes

With the cooler weather upon us and the skies increasingly clouded my gardening activities have moved from outdoors to indoors. My ever so handy husband has built a wonderful wooden planter box. In the box I incorporated three varieties of fern: a stag horn, maidenhair and a button fern with some sphagnum moss. A little water and lots of misting is in order now. This one was such a success new box designs are underway and more ferns have been purchased at phenomenal prices at a local nursery. Now we just need to find the right window light to hang them and we will be enjoying the beautiful foliage all winter long.

Friday, November 6, 2009

"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air." - Nathaniel Hawthorne
It was a beautiful fall day today so I took a few photos of the backyard. Some of the trees are a little past peak but it is beautiful all the same. My azalea bushes are blooming profusely as you can see. All the rain we have had this fall has really helped bring out some striking blooms.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Just living is not enough, said the butterfly. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. - Hans Christian Anderson

As summer has ended and we are into the fall planting season I was reflecting on all the summer butterflies and decided to post some of my favorite pictures of my butterfies.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This is my first blog post ever! I am starting with my summer project which was to put in a woodland garden in my backyard. It was a lot of work to say the least. Designing the bed layout, halling the rocks and then the fun part ... choosing all the plants. Some worked better than others. I tried to choose native plants that would be better adjusted to the climate, need less water and survive the bugs and rodents. Unfortunately, some of my azaelas and hostas were attacked by voles and rabbits and did not survive. I tried to incorporate the natural elements to the garden design. For example I planted a Columbine in a rotting stump (It has done extremely well there). I used some fallen trees as borders and a place for my boys to play.