Butterfly spotting, part 2: new butterfly visitors

This summer, I also discovered some new butterflies in the garden. I have been trying to attract them by adding more food plants: flowers with nectar for adults, and a variety of host plants for their caterpillars. My efforts are certainly paying off. Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies For the first time ever, I saw Great … Continue reading Butterfly spotting, part 2: new butterfly visitors

Butterfly spotting, part 1: common butterflies in the garden

I must sound like a broken record. In most of my blog posts, I begin with a variation of: "Even though our native plantings are only a few years old, I see more insects/birds each year, and a greater diversity of insect/bird species." Here I go again -- in 2019, I saw so many butterflies, … Continue reading Butterfly spotting, part 1: common butterflies in the garden

Neglect and bird poop: how my native hedgerow began

I used to think that our back yard was just too big. At the very end, there is a 10-foot high chain-link fence that separates our yard from the high school field beyond. Each spring, I battled a tangle of tree seedlings, vines, and weeds that sprung up near the fence. I dreamed of creating … Continue reading Neglect and bird poop: how my native hedgerow began

American Goldfinch seed buffet: why I no longer deadhead flowers

While we've had birdseed feeders for years, we never saw birds eating seeds directly off of plants -- because there were no seeds for them to eat. In the past, I painstakingly cut spent flowers to keep the garden looking tidy. Each fall I cut back plants, again, to keep them tidy. Tidy gardens aren't … Continue reading American Goldfinch seed buffet: why I no longer deadhead flowers

Summer berries and Catbirds in the hedgerow

Our maturing hedgerow is becoming ideal bird habitat. As it fills in, it provides cover and nesting locations. It also has lots of fruit and insects to offer, which are important foods for our feathered guests. This year, the hedgerow even attracted a new bird species to our yard. Gray Catbirds In August, I began … Continue reading Summer berries and Catbirds in the hedgerow

Ornamental berries to brighten winter days

The native shrubs in our yard not only feature beautiful autumn leaves, they also produce colourful berries. Birds leave some kinds of berries alone until late winter, or even the following spring, because they aren't very tasty. These natural ornaments are a welcome pop of colour in our dreary brown or white snowy yard. Winterberry … Continue reading Ornamental berries to brighten winter days

Kaleidoscope of fall colours: native shrubs in our yard

In 2016, I began planting native shrubs around the perimeter of our yard to provide food and shelter for birds. Although most of the shrubs are small, they still put on a spectacular show each autumn. Their bright colours are a beacon to birds signalling where they'll find ripe berries, seeds, and nuts to eat. … Continue reading Kaleidoscope of fall colours: native shrubs in our yard