The wildlife garden: planning backyard habitats by Charlotte Seidenberg

By Charlotte Seidenberg

During this consultant to strong gardening a southerner popular either for her logic and for her sage recommendation on horticulture can help you create a habitat that's either precious to flora and fauna and gorgeous to humans.

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He says: "To the extent that each person can feel like a naturalist, the old excitement of the untrammeled world will be regained. I offer this as a formula of reenchantment to invigorate poetry and myth: mysterious and little known organisms live within walking distance of where you sit. " What better place to look for excitement, to discover mysterious and little-known organisms, to find splendor in any proportion, than in your own backyardthan in a wildlife garden! Page xi Acknowledgments Many people have helped, directly or indirectly, with this project.

They will eventually establish Page 36 the extensive root systems that prevent weed seeds from taking hold and will form a meadow that we can help perpetuate by pulling up sprouts of encroaching pioneer shrubs and trees. We may combine clumping perennials with lower-growing shade-tolerant ground covers in perennial borders to duplicate the thick thatch of a prairie and shade of later successional stages that will protect the soil from disturbance and keep down weeds. We may plant trees to make a forest.

All the necessary elementsfood, cover, reproductive space, and waterare there, in trees and shrubs and brambles with limbs and leaves that provide shelter and nesting spots, with blossoms that offer nectar and pollen, then fruit, in wildflower meadows, puddles, ponds, or streams. When I imagine my rural estate, I see natural plant communities enhanced to draw even more of my favorite creatures: salvias, turk's cap, buckeye, mamou, and swathes of coral honeysuckle and cross vine on the tree limbs to draw hummingbirds, rubythroated in the spring, and rufous, black-chinned, and buff-bellied in the winter; red mulberry trees to lure migratory tanagers and grosbeaks; three species of hawthornes draped with red-berried moonseed vine to send birds and mammals into ecstasy; fields of wildflowers buzzing with insects near a pond so full of fish and frogs that flocks of great blue herons, black-crowned night herons and snowy egrets gorging to their hearts' content wouldn't make a dent in their numbers or decrease the night chorus of amphibians!

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