Talking with a colleague in the Landscaping and Gardening business, I was shocked to hear that she though the the term “Wildlife Corridors” meant that it was required to be planted with only native plants. But the term refers to creating a highway of vegetation connecting garden beds or enlarging existing ones to assist small mammals, reptiles and insects to move safely though the land for the purpose of finding food, shelter and reproduce. In a sense expanding their habitats.
In the photo above, I have an example of an existing bed in my on garden. The Canadian Hemlocks planted twenty years ago and heavily shaded by many oak trees next door, have become very thin in the bottom and no longer provide the privacy screen they were originally planted to achieve. I see this as a perfect opportunity to enlarge and add plantings for my benefit and to help biodiversity.
Follow the guide lines in my 2009 post: creating a new planting bed. Determine the space to use, layer with newspaper to kill the grass, wet paper so it stays in place and add mulch (here I used leaf mulch created from last years leaf collection) and presto!
New planting area ready and marked. I will trim the hemlocks a bit in the spring so the shrubs will be outside the drip line. In this case I have chosen Aesculus parviflora or Bottlebrush Buckeye, very shade tolerant, large and just dense and tall enough to provide the needed privacy in two or three years depending on the size planted. And Yes, this is a native shrub that is also deer resistant!
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
Posted in Fall Tasks, Plants, Wildlife
Tagged Aesculus parviflora, Biodiversity, Bottlebrush Buckeye, Creating a planting bed, d, Deer resistant, Leaf mulch, Leaf Recycling, Shade Plants, Wildlife Corridors
Hard to believe the entire summer has gone by and I am in the process of putting the garden to bed for the year. But as I cut down perennials, dig up my cannas and harvest the rest of the vegetables, I am already planning next year’s garden. Top on the list of priorities is improving sustainability and enlarging all my planting beds to provide better habitat for all wild creatures that rely on the environment I have created to survive and multiply. Every plant contributes to that particular habitat. Every product I choose to apply affects the well being of a multitude of insects, birds and small mammals.
For my reading group this year, I choose “The Faraway Nearby” by Rebecca Solnit. A new author for me, her writing gave me pause with the depth of her observations and beautifully crafted prose. She writes:
“Some things are so big you don’t see them, or you don’t want to think about them, or you almost can’t think about them. Climate change is one of those things. It’s impossible to see the whole, because it’s everything. It’s not just a seven-story-tall black wave about to engulf your town, it’s a complete system thrashing out of control, so that it threatens to become too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet, too wild, too destructive, too erratic for many plants and animals that depend on reliable annual cycles. It affects the entire surface of the Earth and every living thing, from the highest peaks to the depths of the oceans, from one pole to the other, from the tropics to the tundra, likely for millennia — and it’s not just coming like that wave, it’s already here.”
Just like climate change, loss of habitat is another serious threat to life in our planet. In a small but highly significant scale, we can promote biodiversity in our gardens by enlarging plantings, widening our beds to create more wildlife corridors and being mindful of keeping organic practices. Studies have shown that corridors for wildlife improve their odds of survival by providing safer areas to travel – away from roads – in search of mates, food and shelter.
“No matter how intently one studies the hundred little dramas of the woods and meadows, one can never learn all the salient facts about any one of them.”
― Aldo Leopold –
As gardeners and nature lovers we are on the forefront of preservation. In a time when our wild places keep shrinking, there are many things we can do in order to make it a little easier on our wild friends that rely on nature for their survival. As I wrote on this previous post on Habitat Fragmentation, creating ‘ribbons of vegetation’ is one of the best ways to promote biodiversity. By enlarging our existing garden beds and planting a few more natives, we would ensure the survival of many species. I will make it my mission this year, not so much in creating new beds, as much as enlarging the ones I already have. The wider and more diverse beds provide more habitat for an incredible amount of wildlife, amphibians and insects pollinators.
This photo was taken in my garden last summer. My perennial beds are on average between four and seven feet wide. Last fall, I started planting just outside the existing beds to widen them and also making it easier to connect one planting area to another ultimately having a continuous corridor through the entire garden.
I will love for all of us to make an effort to make our gardens a joyful, safe and environmentally friendly space for us and our friends human and wild.
“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers and the dreams are as beautiful” Abram L. Urban
Sitting outside in the balmy weather, I watched as leaves fell like a magical golden shower. There was a specific sound too, like hundreds of whisperings being carried past me by the wind. Truly one of those quiet moments that happen so unexpectedly in the garden. I had to shake myself to focus on the myriad of chores that come with the season.
Enlarging and widening perennial and shrub beds. See a super easy way to get started here. In shrub and perennial beds specially, this allows more room to accommodate for naturally growing shrubs. It is also a very good thing to make your beds larger and diminish the amount of lawn. Wildlife benefit from a variety of plants and rely on the food and shelter they provide. I call large beds like these, ‘wildlife corridors’ as they are the highways that allow species to move thru the garden in the safety of cover from predators.
Houseplants are now ready to come back inside. Here are some steps to follow before you bring them in. I will add, it is better to bring them in before the heat is turned on inside. This will reduce the shock of the change in their environment.
Recycle those leaves! What a great resource nature provides, free! If you have a large garden, these bounty can save you on compost, mulch, and plants. With a mulching mower, my husband runs over most of the leaves in the lawn. I then collect all that is left and place then in my compost pile. They are a good amendment for the soil, can be used as leaf mulch, or after they are shredded, can be left on the shrub beds for the winter just as nature intended. By spring add mulch right on top for a more uniform neat look. I have been doing this for some time as I write about it here
“A woodland in full color is awesome as a forest fire, in magnitude at least, but a single tree is like a dancing tongue of flame to warm the heart.” ~Hal Borland
Posted in Container gardening, Fall Tasks, Seasons, Uncategorized, Wildlife
Tagged Autumn, Compost, Houseplants, Leaf mulch, Mulch, Perennial Borders, Soil and Additives, Wildlife Corridors