Encouraging Wildlife

Working with your environment, and the animals in it, is a crucial part of being a responsible gardener or landscaper . Planting in ways that help sustain the landscape, and encouraging local animals to live there, is key to preserving nature and the benefits it brings us. Whether in the form of birds, bugs, mammals, or butterflies; all of these friendly neighbors can benefit your space in more ways than one. Aside from sustainability, there is the simple joy of watching nature come alive around you. This post will discuss a few ways to entice these critters to your space.

  • Eliminate Your Lawn

Did you know that before the 19th century, wildflower meadow lawns were much more popular with mostly every social class? It has only been in the more recent history that a campaign, launched by many associations, has made the american lawn much more prevalent. In the past, grasses were seen as weeds, and certain people’s job was to simply remove the sprigs from a landscape. The invention of the lawn mower certainly helped to make everyone feel like they could have the lawns of the aristocracy.  This has led to the incorrect assumption that large, bare, green lawns are better than natural landscapes. There are even “weed laws” around the country that insure this stays the norm.

Bird 3.pngEncouraging natural landscapes (wherever you are located) not only brings wildlife back to the scene, it has many practical benefits as well. Reduced cost of maintenance, less work in general, and the elimination of many pesticides are just a few of the positives. Landscapes that are natural require less and infrequent watering, no mowing, and no commercial lawn maintenance to upkeep. As the seasons change, a natural landscape will provide food resources for animals big and small. In the Spring and Summer, blooms abound for hungry pollinators; and in the Fall and Winter, spent seedheads and leaf litter provide food for birds and bugs alike. This also provides shelter for nesting birds and insects to make their home in your space. Overall, the pros of reducing your lawn are overwhelming, and in the best interests of wildlife, and your wallet.

 

  • Build a Habitat

There are a few key things that wildlife need to make a home.

  1. Food- Providing food sources throughout the season is a sure way to entice animals to your space. No matter if you want to encourage pollinators, or mammals as well, this is a crucial step to giving them incentive to visit you. Being wild, animals forage for different food throughout the year, and they need space to do so. Planting trees or shrubs that bear fruit, nuts, or seeds is a perfect way to do this. Trees also double as nesting for birds and homes for other wildlife. Certain bugs, such as newts and centipedes, thrive on decaying material. An undisturbed damp, shady corner of the garden will encourage frogs, toads, and salamanders alike.
  2. Water- All living things need access to clean water to survive. Filling this need is vitally important to thriving wildlife. Install and maintain a pond on your property. To add water to your landscape in smaller ways, add bird baths and butterfly dishes. raccoon-2With your lawn being eliminated, this will keep the water supply clean and healthy.
  3. Shelter- Animals need a home to nest, roost, breed, and live. Preserve old walls and
    sheds. These old structures are perfect for nesting bees, and other solitary bee species. Add bird houses to your property. Build a log pile to encourage bugs for composting. Compost! (That simply can’t be overstated.) Don’t keep things so tidy. Gardens can be natural and that will provide homes for various creatures in leaf litter, fallen trees and shrubs, or wooded areas.
  • Go Native

    While important, native planting doesn’t have to be the only type of planting that you do. It is, however, often overlooked in the pursuit of beauty and aesthetics. Just because a palm or magnolia may look visually pleasing in your space, doesn’t mean it mixes into your maple-beech/hickory habitat. Research may be required to find plants and trees that are suitable to your environment. The goal is take your space back to how it would have been before your home, or business, was built. This will give animals shelter and foraging space, which they need to stick around. You may sacrifice the pristine perfection of a completely controlled garden, but you will be rewarded with furry friends, and lower maintenance costs. Planting native alsodeer-1 ensures pollinators of all types will visit your space searching for food sources. Make sure to research which plants provide the most nectar all year around to allow your pollen-dusted friends to stay. Maintain mature trees, as this will encourage
    communities of animals to move in.

 

Changing your landscape to match the needs of the wildlife around you can seem like a huge task. This is simply not the case. Take the time and energy to research your area, and the benefits will emerge almost immediately. Then, simply sit one day, and enjoy the sights and sounds nature has to offer.

Happy Planting!

Good Drainage

When searching for information on planting any type of plant, there seems to be one special thing that they all need. Good drainage! No matter where or what you are planting, drainage, for the plants health and vitality is a must. Some plants thrive in full sun and some love the cool shade, but they all need to be free of standing water. From succulents that must be kept dry to tropical plants that love the moisture, maintaining a healthy level of water and dryness is the key to a thriving plant.

drainage-post

If you live in the perfect environment then plant away with no worries, but for the rest of us, soil amending can be an important step that should be taken seriously. A little work ahead of time can eliminate the headache of watching your plants suffer in soil they cannot grow in, or dying all together. Although all plants ask for good drainage, that can mean different things for different types of plants and landscapes.

Your first step to figuring out how to maximize your drainage and soil quality is to figure out what type of soil your landscape has. This can be accomplished by research online that includes getting your hands dirty eventually. There are also online services that offer to soil test for you, all they need is a sample mailed in. Once you have figured out your type, there are so many ways to work with it that there are no soils that can’t be conquered! Adding organic matter (decaying matter) can help with any kind of soil and can add or decrease moisture. You may need to add minerals depending on what your soil is lacking.  Sometimes shredded bark or peat moss is needed to amend the soil, and adding these can help plants establish. Compost and well rotted manure are also very beneficial to most plantings, but especially vegetables and Annual flowers. It really on depends on where you live and what the general area surrounding you is compromised of.

Soil amending, along with research on the plants that you include in your space, should get you on the right track for good drainage. Healthy plants will follow! There are always cases of trial and error, and mistakes will be made, along with plants lost. Drainage is not the only thing to consider either, so learning all you can before planting is essential. Preparation is one crucial step to ensuring long lasting, healthy, happy plants!

Happy Planting!

Grower Picks March 27th, 2017

Spring has officially begun, and we are ready for the season to begin! Annuals are beginning to become available, and the perennials are flourishing. Every place in the Nursery is alive with life. Each section of the Nursery has chosen a few exceptional looking items to spotlight for our clients. These items are highlighted on our weekly availability in grey for easy identification. The following pictures are current and accurate as to plant quality. Please contact us with any questions on pricing or availability.

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Happy Planting!

Grower Picks March 20th, 2017

They keep coming…Grower Picks! Warmer weather is on the horizon, and the plants are ready for it. Each section of the Nursery has chosen a few exceptional looking items to spotlight for our clients. These items are highlighted on our weekly availability in grey for easy identification. The following pictures are current and accurate as to plant quality. Please contact us with any questions on pricing or availability.

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Happy Planting!

Grower Picks March 13th, 2017

Ready for more Grower Picks? These plants are looking amazing right now, and are ready for a new home! Each section of the Nursery has chosen a few exceptional looking items to spotlight for our clients. These items are highlighted on our weekly availability in grey for easy identification. The following pictures are current and accurate as to plant quality. Please contact us with any questions on pricing or availability.

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Happy Planting!

Plant Highlights: Autumn Fern

 

Sizes Available: 2.5″ 32ct flats. Quart 12ct flats. Individual Gallons

Season of Interest: Evergreen. Young fronds emerge coppery, and mature to green.

It makes sense for our first Fern highlight to be a popular item, and everyone seems to love the Autumn fern! (Also known as Japanese Wood Fern, Copper Shield Fern, or Japanese Shield Fern.) The Autumn fern is a favorite among many for its hardiness, and beautiful color change from copper colored young fronds, to a rich green with maturity. Native to Japan, China, and Taiwan; this fern amazes in the Southern landscape. Shade loving, this low spreading, frilly fern mimics a groundcover in its growing habit. It is more tolerant of dry soils, and more drought tolerant than other varieties; but still performs better in a shady spot with regular watering. In our Zone 7B, this fern is considered evergreen. Topping out at about 2 feet tall, this smaller fern is perfect for mass plantings or edging jobs. It can also be brought indoors to brighten up your living space.

*All plant highlights reflect plants grown by Plantworks Nursery. If you are interested in availability, please contact us for information. (plantworkssales@gmail.com or 919-732-6594)

Grower Picks February 27th, 2017

The time of year has come for Grower Picks! These are plants that are looking especially lovely at the present moment. Each section of the Nursery has chosen a few exceptional looking items to highlight for our clients. These items are highlighted on our weekly availability in grey for easy identification. The following pictures are current and accurate as to plant quality. Please contact us with any questions on pricing or availability.

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