Viewing 14 reply threads
    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      Was it challenging to map out your space and figure out what growing conditions you have? Where in your yard do you think you’ll start naturescaping, and why? Share your ideas in the discussion below.
      You must be enrolled in the course to reply to this topic.
    • Margo
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      MargoHa
      My ecoregion is Marine West Coast Forest, which is very true for my yard just south of Seattle, WA.  I'm in zone 8a-b.  Most of the lawn here was removed before we moved in five years ago, and I removed the rest.  We have a heavily wooded lot, lots of pine cones for birds feeding.  The soil is more sandy than anything else, very poor quality due to the yard being covered by black plastic and fabric years ago.  I am spending a lot of time working to improve the soil with mulch.  I've added vertical features for birds to sit on and turned the front yard into a park like environment - dry pond, two park benches, two birdbaths grasses.  This is the first year I've seen birds actually bathing, not just drinking out of the birdbaths!  I even had an immature Cooper's Hawk sit down in the birdbath and bathe. I'm focusing on native plants to add to the yard.  I have two new Mahonia plants, and I've read that birds eat the berries.  I haven't seen any evidence of that so far.  Coneflower and hypericum are attracting birds, and my bee balm was a hummingbird favorite along with my hardy fuchsia.  Adding to my non-plan, I want to include a blueberry bush and maybe a crabapple tree. My backyard is really shaded about 90%+ of the time.  I am struggling to create a bird friendly environment there.  I do have a popular birdbath there, plus a suet feeder that is beloved by Northern Flickers.  I need to identify more shade loving native plants.
    • Anne
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Anne Hurst
      I had an area that was completely weeds from previous owners.  Last summer I started attacking the weeds and planting beneficials.  I wanted to create a multiple purpose garden including a "Mary garden" and a cottage garden.  But I soon modified my garden to a bird and pollinator garden.  I have many plants with trumpet flowers such as Agastache. for my hummingbirds.  I used tube feeders and have had 2 male goldfinches all summer long along with a variety of doves, finches sparrows.  I think the miserable neighborhood cat killed my sole woodpecker.  I also have four California quail.  I did not start off with a plan.  I just started planting, planting all over.  I still do not use a plan.  I see an empty space and I just try to fill it.  Today I purchased a high growing blueberry bush.  At 6'x6' I really am a little stumped where I will try to place that!   but the thought of all of those berries for my birds plus the cover was just too tempting.  I think it is the first lesson where the writer speaks of gardening as a type of art.  I view gardening this way and although I do not remember all of my plant names or spacings, I really do feel passionate about developing such beautiful life=giving space around me.  I plant native plants and others.
      • Margo
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        MargoHa
        I loved your comment about the 6' x 6' blueberry bush.  I also don't have a plan, although I think I have been trial and error planning for the past four years.  I want to add a blueberry bush (smaller than 6'!) and a crab apple tree.  I have been paying much more attention to native plants and plants that attract birds.  I liked the idea from the previous lesson - 2/3 for the birds.
    • Leonard
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      SDommin
      My ecoregion is 'Long Island Sound Coastal Lowland' and hardiness zone is USDA 7a (0 to 5 degree F). My wife and I have lived on our current property for 35 years and, up to now, have continued maintaining a traditional non-native lawn/landscaping that we 'inherited' from the previous owner. It is a work-in-progress but we are continuing to convert to native flora (learning a lot and having a great time doing it!). I believe native gardening is just starting to take hold in our area and we have found nurseries are starting to get the message. Mapping out our space and determining growing conditions has been a trial and error process to determine what native plants do best where but we are making real progress. The first area that we designated as all native was an area between two trees (a large oak and Norwegian Spruce) that was not ideal for either lawn or non-native flora. It is now not only an anesthetically beautiful view out our front window but a food source for both birds and pollinators.
    • Armando
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      ArmAce3000
      My local ecoregion is the California Mediterranean. My hardiness zone appears to be 9b. It is also surrounded by 10a areas. I wish the native plant databases I used contained this information when I look up the plants though. They just have other info on the plants like drainage, and soil tolerance which I suppose is very useful too but no hardiness numbers. I did a squeeze test as well as a drainage test on my soil and I found that I definitely have some slow draining clay soil! It gets very packed when wet and there is no sign of any other soil type below. At the start of this season I actually also made a map of my yard noting the sun as well. All this information has helped a lot with narrowing down what plants I can use. So in summery, the spot I am going to be planting in gets part shade, has clay soil, and is located in a 9a hardiness zone.
    • Jenifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      jsmolnik
      I have both plants to remove and plants to put in. I am focusing on trying to remove some invasives from my property. There are a lot of them.  I am investigating how to create a natural hedgerow at the border of my property. I have a hedge that I share with neighbors of  invasive burning bushes that I would like to have removed. I would like to replace the hedge with a natural hedgerow (just read about the difference between the two) but have to wait while my neighbors determine their property edge. They want to keep their invasives. So, meanwhile I will have to plant several elderberry bushes somewhere else on my property so I have to determine where to put them. I read they do well near white pine but my white pine area create a lot of shade, so I am not sure that is the best place for them. Also, I would like to create a layering in my yard of bushes,, so I have to focus on creating a plan overall of my yard, focuses on plants that create food for birds all year round. It is an enormous task that will take a long time, so I will have to work on areas of the yard little by little. I have a hemlock tree that is being attacked by Hemlock Wooly  Adelgid (not sure spelling is correct). . Any suggestions on something ecologically friendly to get rid of them? I live in Connecticut - the Northeast - and know that a lot of Hemlocks are being attacked by this insect.
    • Noreen
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Nerine
      Work in progress!
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 28
      kathleentitus
      I actually started with a small garden for monarch butterflies, following the recommendations for my locale, as provided by the North American Butterfly Assn. It was so exciting when monarchs, as well as other butterflies came, that I expanded to create a large native prairie garden in a 300 sq ft gardening bed. It was large enough that I have some regrets I didn't just sow it with native prairie seed mixes. I had a color scheme in mind of purples, pinks, blues, and whites. So, I planted purple coneflowers throughout, with some purple poppy mallow, wild nodding onion, swamp milkweed, common milkweed, blue lobelia, blue indigo, ironweed, New England aster, dogbane, wild bergamot, foxwood beardtongue, pearly everlasting, wild strawberry, joe pye weed, prairie phlox, prairie dropseed grass, bluestem grass, indian grass, and side oats grama grass. Purple coneflowers are wonderful because they bloom a long time and multiply. They transplant well. I'm happy I did this color scheme, which is in full bloom now. There was another area that was more difficult in terms of landscaping, because I had to invent the garden beds. I finally realized it would be best as a courtyard. I created flowering hedges on three sides with borders of flowers in front and a circular garden in the center with a hummingbird feeder. I had a small patio made to look out on the courtyard. There's a secret garden feel to it that I love, which is nice variety to the prairie garden beyond and the open woodland look of the front yard. I still have lawn to get rid of in the front yard and got some good ideas from our class about native ground covers.
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      kleindog
      I recently put in a pollinator bed with butterfly weed, swamp milkweed, beauty bush, winter berries, and other pollinator friendly native plants. I also had a rain garden and large conservation landscape with native plants and shrubs installed, a permeable patio with native plants surrounding it, and two shade beds in my front yard. I am planning on converting the back yard bit by bit into planting beds, and putting a few more beds in the front yard. It's my 5-year plan! I would also like to find a water element to add to the back gardens. Now, I just need a year or so survival and growth.
    • Olivia Afre Segui
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      NightwingMoonwatcher
      I can't place any trees or plants because of the house I live in, we only one the house and a small amount of plants and feeders in our backyard. I like everyones storys, though!
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      svalett
      It wasn't challenging to map out my yard and look up my ecoregion and hardiness zone. Because there is so much to do, I find that I have a few projects going on at once. I have so many invasive growing under the wooded area of my yard.  Last year I had an eco-goat service come to knock down the weeds. It was fun watching the goats eat! We were able to maintain control and plant some areas. We have scheduled the goats to come and redo some spots and hit some new areas. There are many non-native ornamentals that we have marked for removal. So far we have removed all of the barberry bushes and replanted with Carolina spicebush and black chokeberry. We removed some Japanese Spirea and put in native wildflowers. I have more spirea that needs to go, plus catmint, skip or cherry laurel, non-native viburnums, etc. We have expand the flower beds and the beds around tree and added native bushes and ground covers. I'd like to replace the lawn with some native options. We have made a start, but there is still a long way to go.
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      46er2355
      I have ordered some seed for a pollinator garden from Ernst Conservation Seed.  I plan to convert a mown lawn space into a pollinator garden, starting with a space that's about 8' x 4' and expanding over several years.  I would also like to put up a deer fence to protect some of the wild raspberry bushes to save them for the birds.
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      supersunce
      I have started a partial shade meadow in our backyard.  The big challenge has been garlic mustard weed, which outstrips every other plant.  My husband has been “mowing” with the trimmer, and I hope my seeds will come through.  It is a 4y year endeavour and we are in year 1.  I have planted a number of native understory trees and bushes, like elderberry, mountain laurel, wit hazel, etc.  Wandering around out there, I came upon Jack in the pulpit and I have been nursing them along. on the upside, I have found a downy woodpecker nest.  That was pretty exciting!  There are a number of snags back there, so we’ll see who else shows up.  I really like the song birds at my feeders, and I am not sure they will be happy about owls, but it would be neat to hear them.  I printed some of the birdhouse plans and hope to work on that this winter.
      • Jim
        Participant
        Chirps: 19
        Jim Fuehrmeyer
        One good thing about Garlic Mustard is that it pulls up easily.  I learned about it last year when I started volunteering to do "maintenance" at our local Audubon Bird Sanctuary. One day I filled two dozen large garbage bags with them.  Some were nearly five feet tall.  But the folks who taught me explained that GM is a bi-annual so any seeds that sprout this year don't flower and generate new seeds until next year.  So in my own yard last year, I concentrated on pulling all those in flower.  This spring I did the same - and pulled them from the neighbor's yard too. I expect going forward I'll have many fewer to pull - only seeds that blow in from someplace else. From the Audubon Society folks I also learned about and got rid of the Amur Honeysuckle, Oriental Bittersweet, Creeping Charlie, White Clover, and a few others.  With the room to grow and get sun,  this year I found three Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants and the open space that used to hold all the GM is now filled with native Virginia Creeper.  I'm feeling pretty good about what I've been doing so far.
    • Christopher
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      goldeagle Kroll
      Currently I'm collecting native plants to redo the flower bed in the front yard. Along with this remodel I will be removing lawn. There is also a water feature in that area. In addition I plan on remodeling order bed by removing invasives and replacing negatives.
    • LAURA
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      cleozbirdz
      I am excited to start a small native plant patch with a birdbath to help attract additional species. The biggest problem we have is our "soil," which is really just clay and rocks.
      • Jennifer
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        supersunce
        I feel your pain.  I am gradually adding mulch to our clay, year by year, yard by yard.  It is beginning to show a difference, and it is worth it.  I read that clay soil is very nutritious, so if we can just lighten it up a bit, it will be great for plants.
Viewing 14 reply threads