In life, as in a garden, you reap what you sow.
~Nancilee Wydra- Feng Shui in the Garden
Nothing makes me feel better than being outside on a warm, sunny day working in my garden. I relax and have time to think. The stress melts away as I pull weeds and dig my hands into the soil. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when the flowers bloom and the fruits and vegetables bear fruit.
When harvest time comes I enjoy sharing my bounty with friends and family.
Gardening is a wonderful way to relax, enjoy nature, live green and save money. Growing your own fruit or vegetables can dramatically slash your grocery bill.
Just a few plants can keep you stocked for months. (continue reading…)
Good sense would dictate one ought to stay in the vehicle when a wild predator is around, but when I saw a wolf emerge from the shrubbery in the park’s Native Northwest Plant garden during an outing with my sister and her two children, my author’s instinct to jump on unique life experiences overrode whatever fear I should have absorbed from fairy tales. Just looking at the animal, it was clearly a wolf, not a wolf-dog, though it was wearing a dog collar.
I did wait to get out of the car until I’d figured out that, first, the wolf was in the company of a keeper and, second, I couldn’t get a decent picture from inside the car. The garden was fenced, but not with anything that would have deterred a determined predatory carnivore. Fortunately, this wolf was far more interested in playing fetch. (continue reading…)
As the saying goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words. When it comes to protecting wildlife and raising awareness of environmental issues, the right photo can be even more important. The Nature Conservancy invites shutterbugs to enter its fifth annual digital photography contest showcasing images of nature.
“We’re looking for beautiful nature photography representing the diversity of life on Earth. Your own original digital images of our lands, waters, plants, animals and people in nature are all eligible for the competition,” said the Nature Conservancy. (continue reading…)
Zoos are a fun way to get young children excited about exotic wildlife and natural conservation, with convenient amenities. In July, Wildlife Wednesday thinks outside the zoo for other venues to teach kids about wildlife. This week, forget the exotic zoo creatures and check out native wildlife with wildlife refuges.
The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service operates 552 National Wildlife Refuges, with at least one in each state, which you can find with the handy zip code search on the Fish and Wildlife Service website. Though the primary purpose of wildlife refuges is habitat restoration and preservation, National Wildlife Refuges provide educational and special programs, as well as opportunities for birdwatching and nature photography, and, if one is so inclined, hunting and fishing. Walking trails and driving tours are available at some refuges. (continue reading…)
Throughout June, Wildlife Wednesday has discussed how to develop a wildlife-friendly landscape to encourage birds and other animals to share nature. Watching animals up close can be a fun hobby and a wonderful opportunity to teach kids about the critters around them. Even young children can learn to identify some of the brightly colored birds that frequent the birdbath, like cardinals or goldfinches.
However, wild animals are not great at respecting boundaries, so they can occasionally get too close for comfort. A couple of summers ago, I was pleased to observe squirrel scampering about on the deck outside my kitchen. I was less pleased a few minutes later when a commotion I heard from the kitchen turned out to be the squirrel launching itself off my coffeemaker, hitting the closed kitchen window, falling into the sink and climbing back onto the coffeemaker to try again. If you plan to attract wildlife, you also need to take measures to keep them safely out in nature.
Food and water supplies will attract wildlife, but to keep animals around for regular viewing, shelter is key. Nesting and denning sites make a habitat a home. Each species of backyard wildlife has its own habitat preferences, and the more varied habitat in a landscaping, the more varied the resident wildlife will be.
Some birds prefer to nest among tree and shrub branches, while others look for cavities. An assortment of large trees, medium-sized bushes and sheltered areas near ground level provide nesting options for many types of birds. Many common landscaping shrubs provide excellent cover for songbirds. The winged euonymus that are ubiquitous foundation plants in my neighborhood seem to attract at least one nest apiece every spring and summer. (continue reading…)