Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sally's Wild Garden

Dark-eyed Junco  Watercolor  Sally Wickham © 2012

You know you want to or maybe you know you don’t.   What is it that you do or don’t want to do?  Stop mowing your lawn!  Let it grow tall and grassy.  Allow the weeds to take over.  Let the whole weedy patch go to seed and perhaps next fall, you, like Sally, my artist friend, fellow birdworder, and nearest neighbor will be rewarded. 

It was just before the early snows came last October when Sal called to tell me that a flock of Dark-eyed Juncos were flitting about her yard.  Of course, I sallied forth to get my first look of the season at the little gray and white birds with pink bills that always remind me of bowling balls.  (I think because they are so round.)  Everything that a junco needs is there in Sally’s yard—Food, Water, and Cover.   They use the tall stalks left in the wild garden, the evergreens and the shrubbery around the buildings to perch and hide as they search for seeds on the ground. 

Sally’s dream to reintroduce weedy seedy native plants as part of her landscaping has taken root and grown.  She is now in the process of expanding the garden and including a boggy area to increase daily bird attendance.  It was not for economy of effort that Sally began her wild garden several years ago.  It was quite the opposite.  There is work involved.   Sal has to “stake out” the wild part to prevent an over-zealous guy and his lawnmower  from reclaiming it back to groomed and green.  She removes grass and unwanted plants from around the favored ones.  She researches plants, shrubs and trees that songbirds find pleasing.  In order to maintain its wildness, Sally must  dig, plant, divide, and transplant. 

Sally has an artist’s eye and a plan that complements their home.  The mowed part of the lawn, the wild garden, the outbuildings, pond, and surrounding areas make it a bird friendly habitat.  The area is attractive and alive with birds and bees and butterflies.  But the best part is being the neighbor who only has to sit on the deck and enjoy the view.  

Link for more information about Weed Gardens and How to Create Your Own

An article related to this topic appears in 
BirdWatcher's Digest  March/April 2012 
The Weed Garden by David R Thompson

Looking out on Sally's Wild Garden on a beautiful day last summer

 Dark-eyed Junco of the slate-colored variety takes a break from looking for seeds and rests on a flower stalk. 

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