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Showing posts from January, 2008

Why Native Plants?

A recent post in the Orlando Sentinel by Tom MacCubbin posed a great, thought-provoking question. Why only plant natives? In my own garden and landscape, I find that I am somewhat undecided on this question. Here's my response to Mr. MacCubbin's question. While I’m not sure I advocate planting solely native plants, they are without a doubt worthy of consideration, as is the idea of solely planting them. When chosen correctly for a site, native plants offer not just their loveliness, but they appeal to birds, insects, and other wildlife that have developed simultaneously with them over the course of thousands of years. Introduced plants may fulfill a similar role, but the often invasive quality of these plants, along with their short high-maintenance lives can outweigh their benefits and attractions when compared to those offered by native plants. An increase in birds, insects - or even fish - most likely would mean a decrease in mosquitoes or other pesky creatures for human

Gardening for the Birds

It's freezing cold today - below zero - and I see a couple little winged friends moving about, but that's it. I'm glad we filled the feeders yesterday. In winter it seems obvious to me why we're attracted to birds as gardeners. We can't be outside as much as we like, because in some ways there is less to do. Yes, I could review my garden plan from last year and work on next year's. I could go through the seed catalogs and choose things that are outside my garden plan and more than my garden can handle. (Happens every year. I might as well be honest about these things.) I can read gardening books. While all of these are delightful, birds are a connection to the outdoors that I love and the space I work in when the weather is warmer. Other than the first green shoots of bulbs, birds are lively companions that help me enjoy winter, make me laugh with their antics, and offer a sense of wonder that such a small thing is able to survive what I find are bone-chilling

Another Great Bird Site

A good friend of mine has a fantastic blog site about birds and digiscoping. The pictures are stunning, and very well done. And he's quite passionate about his subject matter. Bird Digiscoping is worth checking out, to say the least.

Bluebird on My Shoulder

It's cold here in Michigan, thank heavens, and there's some snow on the ground. This time of year I turn not just to the seed catalogs and my garden notes from last year (yes, I'm a geek), but to the bird feeders I've got around the yard. I try to pay attention all year long to the birds as they come and go, as I know that they are integral to the health of my garden as well as the little universe here I call home. I just took a great little audio quiz at the good 'n planty blog by Abby Poulette, the Assistant Web Editor for Organic Gardening.com . I stumbled on her blog today from a little newsletter they send out. It's always a delight, and I would recommend both the site and the blogs they showcase. (And I'll confess, there isn't a bluebird on my shoulder, but I did spot one hanging out on a sumac branch on my way into work yesterday!)

Fertile Thoughts

I've just been reading some great posts on composting at Gardening Anywhere , and thought they were worth pointing others toward. Composting always seems intimidating to newcomers to the idea, at least it was for me, but once I got going there was no turning back. We have two bins down by our garden. One is the one in use (where we empty the compost bucket under our counter every day or so), and the other is the one settling and manufacturing the tasty treats my 2008 garden will delight in so very much. We throw in all kitchen waste with the exception of meat and dairy stuff. Tea bags, coffee grounds and filters, egg shells, tofu that's gone bad, etc., all lands there. If the chickens don't eat it first (hard to tell our girls no when they look so picturesque on top of the pile and when I know their leavings are as good as gold, too), it breaks down with the leaves and grass clippings I plopped there over the summer and fall. Ours are built out of old wood palettes - one on