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Eight Ways To Love Fall Leaves

When we left ten days ago, our lawn looked like this:

 

When we came back, this was what our lawn looked like:  

 

and this was the neighbor’s:

 After six years I still can’t convince him that there are much better ways to get rid of fall leaves than sending them to the dump in black plastic bags. 

 

Birds of a Feather Aren't Flocking Together

I’ve been sitting at my desk this morning, supposedly writing this week’s blog about mulch. What I have really been doing however, is staring out the window watching the hummingbirds battle at the feeders. There are only two consistently here this week, which is sad. Normally, from early September through mid October, there are six or eight of the little bullies determined to dominate the feeders. It seems that things in the hummingbird world have changed.

Creating A Real Pollinator Garden

I came home from the Perennial Plant Association’s National Symposium determined to tear out every single one of my garden beds and start completely over. In my mind, as I judged them against the images and designs I had seen, there was no question  –  mine were shameful and had to go!  Thankfully, my husband pulled the shovel out of my hands and talked me down from the cliff. My reaction to an educational seminar may seem just a bit extreme, but if you ever have the opportunity to hear Claudia West, landscape architect and co-author of one of my favorite books Planting In A Post-Wild World speak, I guarantee you will understand.

HUMMINGBIRD CHAOS

After the usual summer hosting a solitary visitor, my hummingbird feeders are suddenly overrun with feisty birds fighting for nectar. Last night there were at least ten battling for control; they spent so much time chasing each other away, I’m not sure any of them got a good meal.  

As much as I loved being in the middle of the bird chaos, it also made me just a touch sad. All these birds descending on my yard at once could only mean one thing  --  preparation for fall migration was starting. Much too soon, all these beautiful birds will be heading south for the winter.

RABBITS -- DOZENS OF RABBITS!

For six years I have battled deer, groundhogs, racoons, squirrels and even an opossum for control of my garden. Over time, these creatures and I have finally come to terms with one another –  they take their share and I replant. Not the most economical solution, but it seems to work for us. 

Conquering Critters in the Garden - Deer

When we lived at the lake, I was used to dealing with wildlife, especially deer. We had a home situated in the middle of their natural habitat so it only seemed fair that they shared in my garden bounty. (Of course the fact that my neighbor consistently set out salt licks didn’t help the situation much ) Here, we live in the middle of town —in fact, we are just a few blocks from our thriving downtown— and we are on the way to a popular walking and biking path. Since there is a constant stream of people and dogs, I assumed that critters would be the least of my worries; I was actually more concerned about trash and vandalism.

Waging War on Critters: Groundhogs, Squirrels and Raccoons

Last year I battled groundhogs and squirrels for control of my yard. (It was a draw; neither side took complete control.) This year, they have added another ally to their side  —  a pair of devious raccoons. On the surface, they appear innocent, almost disarmingly cute with their black face masks and fluffy tails, but the reality is that they are formidable enemies who will stop at nothing to get what they want. The fact that they work at night and in tandem makes them especially difficult to thwart. When paired with the rest of the local urban wildlife, a human can definitely feel outclassed. 

 

 

You Too Can Have Free, All-Natural Pest Control

An article on Apple News caught my attention yesterday. It was full of ideas for designing a garden to keep snakes away. Ten years ago I would have devoured every word. Today I just sighed, thinking about all the folks who will follow through on the design suggestions and miss out on having a valuable garden partner  —  a resident snake!