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Archives for August 11, 2017

Good to Grow: Designing your first garden requires careful planning – Charleston Gazette

So you wanna design a garden. Go you! I know from experience how hard it is to muster up motivation for something outside of our daily obligations, especially when it’s new and a little overwhelming. So give yourself a pat on the back, and let’s get started.

First, set your expectations. This garden will (I assume) be the only garden you’ve ever designed with intention. First efforts are rarely perfect. There will be missteps. You’ve never done this before. Try keeping this in mind.

That said, you can still design a fantastic novice garden. The amount of time and effort put in will make all the difference. Putting work in at the beginning of a project goes a long way toward success.

So what do you need? Research. I know my love of research is not shared by most, but I promise it will pay off in the long run. Make it fun for yourself. Start by browsing gardens on Pinterest or around your neighborhood. What do you like and dislike about these gardens?

Next, let Google be your guide. Assuming you’re designing a perennial garden, search for plants you enjoy and see if they’ll grow in your hardiness zone.

Check out the plant’s mature size. Will it get too big for the space? When does it bloom? Is it low maintenance? How much sun does it need?

If you find something you like, try searching for plants that pair well with it. Also, try dropping by Saundersbrothers.com or RiverbendNursery.com. Both of these nurseries supply a number of greenhouses and stores in West Virginia and have great searchable databases. Remember, the more you know, the better your chances of designing a garden you’re happy with.

Did you find a few plants you’re kind of in love with? Excellent. Time to measure your space. Measure the area, and note any existing plants, walls or other features. The more precise you are in this step, the better.

Once you have your measurements, draw them out. I recommend scaling the drawing down by using a 1/2-inch or 1/4-inch for every foot. And don’t worry, artistic skill isn’t necessary. A ruler and a drawing compass will do most of the work.

Now it’s time to add some plants. This is the fun part. You’ll want to decide what look you’re going for. Do you like your plants spaced out, or do you like a cozy garden?

Are you going for a certain style like a prairie, cottage or Mediterranean garden? You’ll want to consider this as you draw everything. If you’re feeling adventurous, remember you can change the shape of your bed, as well. Don’t like all those right angles? Add some curves.

Finally, here are a few rules of thumb to consider as you design. Remember to draw your plants fully grown. Just because a rose bush is only a foot tall and wide when you buy it doesn’t mean it will stay that way. So design with mature size in mind.

Also, think about which direction your garden will be viewed from. Is it seen from the driveway or perhaps a screened porch? You don’t want to put a bunch of tiny plants in a garden that will only be seen from a distance. Will smaller plants get hidden behind tall plants you’ve put front and center?

Likewise, consider what the plant looks like year-round. Does it bloom for a few weeks in spring and then stop? If so, make sure you like the look of its foliage. Is it deciduous? Will it be a mass of bare brambles in winter? Does that bother you?

If you keep these things in mind, do lots of research beforehand and don’t rush, you’ll end up with a lovely garden you can build over time. Garden design isn’t necessarily difficult, it just takes practice, trial and error, and a lot of plant knowledge. (Or access to the internet.)

So go on and get creative. Your garden is waiting.

Brit is a writer, artist and plant enthusiast living in Charleston. She has recently joined the talented team at Flowerscape as a design assistant.

She comes to gardening from an artistic angle and wants to bring her love of color, vibrancy and storytelling to landscaping. Her current projects include a series of novels and a video blog. Brit can be contacted at Brit.blevins27@gmail.com.

Article source: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/life-gardening/20170809/good-to-grow-designing-your-first-garden-requires-careful-planning

DIY: Lighting that makes a statement – Winston

This photo provided by Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design shows one of the rooms in a Montauk, N.Y., beach house with Ghislaine Viñas’ design. Viñas used Alvaro Catalan de Ocon’s PET Lamp chandelier, placing the colorful fixture in an all white dining space.

Article source: http://www.journalnow.com/home_food/home_garden/diy-lighting-that-makes-a-statement/article_4aa85710-1797-5933-bb6a-3967b8fe5259.html

On Gardening: Becoming familiar with succulents



An avid gardener I talked with recently mentioned that he and his wife are not at all interested in succulents. They have none in their garden and do not intend to add any.

I wasn’t advocating succulent plants at that time, but I find their preference to be puzzling. In fact all plants store moisture to some degree; those we call “succulents” just have more effective ways of managing during dry periods.

Given this perspective, we might consider the reasons why many gardeners find succulent plants to be appealing and others do not.

Some who don’t like these plants might think all succulents are cacti with sharp points, and don’t want to be harmed. We must respond with the old line that all cacti are succulents, but all succulents are not cacti. Also, a few cacti do not have sharp points, and a few succulents that are not cacti also have sharp points. With simple precautions the gardener can avoid being poked, and with study can appreciate Nature’s strategy for some plants to defend themselves from hungry predators. (Cactus spines are really modified leaves designed to minimize moisture loss.)

Other gardeners who don’t like succulent plants might just be unfamiliar with their great variety of forms, structures, colors, landscape value, and unique qualities. For these gardeners, an excellent introduction to succulent plants is Debra Lee Baldwin’s new book, “Designing with Succulents” (Timber Press, 2017). This book, due for release later this month, is the completely revised second edition of Baldwin’s 2007 book of the same title.

Baldwin has organized her ideas about succulent plants in six sections: essential garden design ideas; specialty gardens; cultivation advice; descriptions of selected plants; categorized lists of plants; and drought-tolerant companion plants.

Each section includes the author’s solid information based on her own gardening knowledge and inputs from other experts, and excellent images from her own work and other photographers. Baldwin brings a strong background of garden writing and photography to this task, as well as extensive experience in gardening. She is also a popular speaker and a producer of many short YouTube video recordings on succulent gardening.

Other books provide an encyclopedic resource or a botanical analysis of succulent plants, but “Designing with Succulents,” as its title indicates, focuses on design ideas for landscape vignettes, plant combinations, and containers. The book shows and describes exciting examples of designs from public and private gardens in southern California, and several other parts of the United States.

Among many other ideas, “Designing with Succulents” demonstrates the aesthetic value of larger plants in the landscape. Familiar good advice for adding plants to the garden includes being aware of the plant’s mature size. Buying only small plants minimizes expense, but filling the garden with plants that will never grow into larger size leaves the landscape with little drama or architectural interest.

Gardeners new to these plants will find both useful information and inspiration in this book. Experienced growers of succulents also will discover motivation to explore possibilities for refining their gardens and containers, and enjoying gardening with succulents.

Tom Karwin is past president of the Friends of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, president of the Monterey Bay Area Cactus Succulent Society, and a Lifetime UC Master Gardener (Certified 1999—2009). Visit ongardening.com for links to information on this subject, and send comments or questions to gardening@karwin.com.

Article source: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/article/NE/20170810/FEATURES/170819978

Ranch plan calls for expansion of all facilities, new items – Loveland Reporter

Residents who visit The Ranch in the future may be surprised by the growth within the 220-acre facility.

A draft master plan outlines major improvements to all existing facilities, new opportunities and a few changes with the $170 million in recommended enhancements aimed at attracting more and larger activities to keep the events center relevant in a growing region and market.

“It has to somehow fit into the market to be viable for us,” Todd Blomstrom, Larimer County public works director, said at a Wednesday meeting with the county commissioners and planning commission.

“We’re not looking to overtake and compete with private companies but want to find and maximize our niche.”

At the beginning of the master plan process, large ideas surfaced including adding a minor league baseball team and an outdoor amphitheater. But as planners looked at what was viable financially, what the market would sustain and how to balance a mix of activities, those ideas faded.

“We thought, why don’t we just do more of what we’re already doing,” said Diana Frick, the acting manager of The Ranch.

Growing from the roots

The roots of The Ranch are planted firmly in Larimer County’s rural history with a county fairground hosting rodeos and agricultural shows at facilities for 130 years. Those are still a key part of the fairgrounds complex, though The Ranch was designed, and built just off Interstate 25, to offer diverse activities as the population grows and becomes more urban.

The Colorado Eagles play hockey at the Budweiser Events Center, and the many facilities at the complex house all sorts of entertainment from concerts to comedians to banquets, trade shows and community events.

But still the agricultural activities remain a big draw to the fairgrounds. Among the 2,500 activities each year is a variety of events through the largest 4-H program in the state, including agricultural-based activities as well as added options like robotics, math and much more.

That 4-H program, which Commissioner Tom Donnelly has described as the shining star of the state, would benefit from several of the changes outlined in the master plan. The McKee Building, the headquarters for many community activities, the indoor and outdoor arenas and livestock pavilions and the First National Bank building that houses fair activities are all slated for expansion.

The master plan calls for doubling the size of indoor arena space with a second facility that has seating for up to 2,500 people, adding about 400 new stalls in the pavilions and adding indoor practice space as well as covered outdoor practice space and enhancing the outdoor arenas. That would elevate the level of horse shows — a very popular draw — The Ranch could host.

“If we had double the size, we could go after national horse shows,” said Frick. “We could compete with Fort Worth.”

In fact, the expansion would make The Ranch the only place in Colorado besides the National Western Complex, when open at full capacity, that could handle such a large, national show, said Frick.

Also possible with the expansion would be the opportunity to include a veterinary care area inside the indoor arena through a potential partnership with the Colorado State University Teaching Hospital. The county is exploring such a collaboration that would provide opportunities for veterinary students to work on large animals and boost what is available at The Ranch.

Enlarging existing facilities

From a new suite level at the Budweiser Events Center to another 25,000 square feet addition to the First National Bank building, every existing facility at The Ranch includes major upgrades and expansions. The plans were developed to allow larger and more events to keep the center relevant as the area grows.

Home to the Colorado Eagles as well as a variety of entertainment, the Budweiser Events Center is looking at a new suite level deck and patio, enhanced seating, concession improvements as well as expanded locker rooms and green rooms for artists as well as additional kitchen space.

The mixture of enhancements offers more to the public, which supports the whole complex by attending the events, as well as to the artists, athletes and others who perform at the center. Together, these will boost what the facility is able to offer, according to a presentation on the plan.

Home to many community events, the McKee Building would grow with additional meeting rooms, more storage and possible expanded kitchen facilities. With the new space, another possible partnership with CSU could lead to a farm-to-table program that embraces lessons on how to grow, prepare and sell food at a farmer’s market, also planned for the site.

Home to a wide variety of programs, the First National Bank Exhibition Hall holds the most events at The Ranch. It has a north and south exhibition hall as well as five meeting rooms and a kitchen that allows banquets of as many as 800 people.

The proposed master plan would add another 25,000 square feet of space to allow for larger events and the possibility of having more than one in the facility at the same time. A relocation and expansion of the kitchen would allow the size of banquets to grow, which Frick said will fill a need within the community, and an extra six to eight meeting rooms could open the possibilities even more.

Offering something new

On the southeast corner of the Larimer County property is an area of undeveloped land that, in the future could become a shooting sports facility, a natatorium or an ice center, for both training and competitions, or if the opportunity arose, one multi-level center that includes all three.

“For us to make them financially viable, we would have to have a partner come to the table,” said Frick, explaining that there has been public interest in all three of those possibilities.

“There is space for that, but we’re waiting to see if a partner comes through.”

Another new amenity included in the master plan is an outdoor covered pavilion and stage that could host about 150 people for picnics and even small concerts. Additional landscaping and outdoor changes would enhance the offerings for many activities, including outdoor festivals.

Changing the traffic flow

Currently at The Ranch, all of the traffic flows through the center of the facility, splitting the parking lots from the buildings and outdoor space. The master plan looks to change that by routing the traffic around the perimeter of the facility to improve both safety and traffic flow.

With that reconfiguration of Arena Circle, the main entrance would move and a possible second entrance could be built on the south end via Clydesdale Parkway off of Crossroads Boulevard.

Along with the changes to traffic flow, the new configuration would include walkways, landscaping and expanded camping. People who come to The Ranch for livestock shows often camp on site, but the changes would allow a total of 100 camping spaces including at least 50 that are full service.

Paying for the future

With $170 million in projects laid out, Planning Commission member Sean Dougherty asked the big question: How will the county pay for it?

The Planning Commission will be asked, in just over a month, to approve the master plan, but first Dougherty wanted to know, “What sort of estimates of income do you have to cover this?”

Officials have looked at the finances and feasibility of the ideas but do not have a plan set in stone of how to pay for each piece. The master plan is the overall vision, the guiding map, a fluid document, Blomstrom explained.

The details on paying for the projects, planning when they will happen and designing the details will come later.

“These are potential projects for the future,” Blomstrom said.

He acknowledged that the county could ask the voters to extend a sales tax for The Ranch another 20 years after it expires in 2019. That would bring in an estimated $120 million toward the cost of the projects.

But that is still a big if. The county commissioners would have to agree to put the tax on the ballot, and staff has not even brought that before the elected board, and then voters would have to approve the tax extension.

Another possible source of funding is finding partners to invest in different pieces of the plan, including the possible natatorium, shooting sports or ice facilities.

“Many of these we aren’t going alone,” Blomstrom said. “Partnerships would be essential.”

Finalizing the plan

Larimer County hopes to have a final draft of the master plan for The Ranch by Sept. 1. That will go before the county commissioners on Sept. 12 in hopes the elected board will recommend approval.

Final approval comes from the Planning Commission, which will hold a public hearing and vote on Sept. 20.

Pamela Johnson: 970-699-5405, johnsonp@reporter-herald.com, www.twitter.com/RHPamelaJ.

Article source: http://www.reporterherald.com/news/ci_31210140/ranch-plan-calls-expansion-all-facilities-new-items

Boat trailer parking, curbside recycling on Wrightsville Beach board agenda tonight

Editor’s note: The Aug. 10 print edition of the Lumina News incorrectly indicated that the 4:30 p.m. recycling meeting was a public hearing. Tonight’s meeting is open to the public and board members will review details of the proposal, but a public hearing on the issue won’t be scheduled until a later meeting.

The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen will consider approval of a landscaping plan on the west end of the Heide Trask Drawbridge that would prevent boaters from parking on that side of the bridge with their trailers.The town will also consider moving forward with a curbside recycling plan during a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. before the regularly scheduled board meeting at 5:30 p.m.

The Wrightsville Beach board will consider asking the N.C. Department of Transportation to add landscaping to the area where vehicles with trailers will often be parked if boaters can’t find parking at the ramp in town. Wrightsville Beach police can’t issue tickets there since it’s in Wilmington, which often doesn’t have the resources to issues tickets there. During the July board meeting, aldermen said that the parking fine wasn’t enough to deter boaters anyway.

Wrightsville Beach Mayor Bill Blair said the town would work with the city of Wilmington to share costs for the maintenance of the landscaping.

“We need to have an attractive entrance to the town, the trailers need to quit parking there,” Blair said.

The board will also consider seeking proposals to offer curbside recycling to town residents. At a special 4:30 p.m. meeting, the board will look at options and vote on approving a request for proposals from local trash hauling services.

Blair said during the meeting, he would discuss ideas for finding a way to pay for the curbside service.

Alderman Lisa Weeks has been a long-time advocate of bringing curbside recycling back to Wrightsville Beach. A private company provided it to residents for a fee until August 2015, when it stopped, sighting too few customers to justify the costs.

The board asked the town to survey residents on curbside recycling following the board’s retreat in January. The survey, of which more than half of the respondents were permanent residents, showed that 74 percent would prefer curbside recycling and 72 percent were willing to pay a monthly fee for the service.

Staff surveyed local recycling company representatives on price per household for the service, which would average $4-$5 a month fee.

Blair said he would press for some conditions in any recycling contract, which would include that the recycling carts be pushed back to the house following collection so that they don’t line the streets in the evening.

By establishing curbside recycling, the town believes it could reduce its municipal solid waste by 25 percent, or about 1,000 tons per year, resulting in an estimated $50,000 yearly saving in tipping fees.

Article source: http://luminanews.com/2017/08/boat-trailer-parking-curbside-recycling-wrightsville-beach-board-agenda-tonight/

Iowa City Parks and Recreation receives $50000 ‘Meet Me at the Park’ grant

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) — Iowa City Parks and Recreation has been selected to receive a $50,000 play space grant from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and The Walt Disney Company for a new nature play area at Riverfront Crossings Park,1001 Clinton St. The investment supports NRPA and Disney’s combined goal of providing one million kids and families with greater access to play.

As part of the national “Meet Me at the Park” healthy living program, park and recreation agencies across the country were invited to share their best ideas on increasing access to play spaces for children and families in their communities.

Agencies with the most innovative and impactful project ideas were chosen to receive grants ranging from $10,000–$50,000 to build their projects.

When Riverfront Crossings Park opens to the public in 2018, the nature play area will offer many options for play, as well as access to Ralston Creek.

The plan includes some traditional playground pieces such as swings and a slide, as well as exploration areas created from land form, landscaping, and creek features.

The entryway arches from the former Sabin Elementary School will also be incorporated into the play elements of the site.

“This area will be a unique playspace in the heart of Iowa City,” Parks and Recreation Director Juli Seydell Johnson said. “Using natural features and a mixture of active and more passive, quiet spaces, we can create play experiences for a wide range of ages and abilities.”

In addition to the nature play area, the new Riverfront Crossings Park will have trail connections to the Iowa River Trail, a 5 acre wetland area and new vistas of the Iowa River.

Future phases of the park will add park shelters, restrooms, boat access to the Iowa River and a large community gathering event lawn.

“NRPA is proud to collaborate with The Walt Disney Company to help more children and families experience the benefits of play,” NRPA Director of Health and Wellness Kellie May said. “By increasing access to play spaces, this program will also provide new activities that support healthy lifestyles in local communities.”

Article source: http://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Iowa-City-Parks-and-Recreation-receives-50k-Meet-Me-at-the-Park--439671333.html

Landscaping At Tulsa’s Gathering Place Provides Natural Filtration

TULSA, Oklahoma –

The Gathering Place is going green.

The first wave of planting is underway around a series of ponds that filter and recycle water.

The lodge and wetlands on the northern end of the park will be the first view many visitors have at the Gathering Place.

The Gathering Place today is still a noisy, dusty place, but when it’s done around the wetland gardens, visitors will hear wind and water.

5/11/2017 Related Story: New Timeline Puts Opening Of Gathering Place In Spring/Summer 2018

Though 100,000 plants are in the ground, there are more than a million plants still to come.

The landscaping, around and in the water, is actually a natural filtration system required for the pond.

“You have to provide for the ability to circulate and be cleaned,” said Jeff Stava, project manager.

Stava says the flow through vegetation, down through several levels and out to the pond, will surround visitors with the sound of water.

“And then it flows back into the pond, so it’s continuously running and cleaning the pond water,” Stava said.

Where the soil might wash away, the Gathering Place used three feet of topsoil, embedded with fibers.

“This keeps and holds all the soil, so in a downpour where you might have a little trickle wash away, without the fiber in the soil, this whole thing would just slough off,” Stava said.

The pathways are lined with stone benches to provide plenty of resting spots.

The pond is the centerpiece of the park and the Williams Lodge has an overlook.

Workers are covering the walls with stone, inside and out, and they’re completed a massive wall that took five months to build.

The fireplace is so large it has seating inside, with a view out over the fire.

“You can see almost any aspect of the park. I think it will be beautiful sunset views and I think this will be a great place to hang out,” Stava said.

On any construction project weather is a concern.

They’re worried about the rain this weekend, because there is still a lot of bare soil and planting that needs to be done.

Article source: http://www.newson6.com/story/36110994/landscaping-at-tulsas-gathering-place-provides-natural-filtration

Beyond the Game: Seattle events for 12s this weekend

Seahawks fans (12s!), the blue and green construction paper chain that I’ve been tearing one link off each day through the off-season is down to two more links.

Two links, Seahawks people!! I know, it’s just the pre-season, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the Hawks play football. I can’t wait to get down to that one last link. It’s like the anticipation build-up you might have experienced as a child when it was coming close to some holiday children might love (Arbor Day?). 

In all seriousness though: Go Hawks! 

We have to pass the time till the game starts, so here are a few ideas.

South Lake Union has a yearly block party, and this year it’s taking place Friday. I used to cut through South Lake Union on my way downtown to skip the traffic on Denny Way. Back then it was all warehouses and busted up old homes. If you try to cut through there during an afternoon on a weekday now you’re likely to get stuck at the first crosswalk you see. Throngs of people getting their lunch. Throngs. It’s a slick new neighborhood with restaurants and bars and everything. I would bet this is a decent block party. Live music, beer garden, food trucks and a bunch of other stuff. It’s free, it starts at 11 am at Denny Way and Westlake Ave. N. 

This year we grew some tomatoes in pots on our south-facing front porch that are producing tomatoes like crazy. It makes me think, “What else could I grow here on my porch with all this sunshine?” Well, I bet I could find some inspiration on a self-guided tour from West Seattle down through White Center and Burien to see the best urban farms around. There’ll be vertical gardens, edible landscaping, gardens in small spaces, and etcetera. Tickets are $15. Since it’s self-guided, after you purchase your ticket you’ll get access to a website that has all the information you need for the tour. 

Pickles and Beer? Hello!

If food fermentation is your thing, you might consider checking out DIY Fermented Pickles and Beer Pairing Workshop at Firefly kitchens in Ballard on Saturday from 11 am-1 pm. Tickets are $40. $37.50 if you buy two or more. There’ll be a workshop about food fermentation and lots of fermented treats there to sample. You’ll make a jar of pickles that will go home with you, and you’ll sample beer from Populux Brewing. Might make a nice treat to enjoy while watching a football game. 

Music

I don’t know what you’re into, but if you like metal music, you might want to check out Slayer, Lamb of God and Behemoth at WaMu theater Saturday. The show starts at 7 and tickets start at $46.50. I saw Lamb of God once about eight years ago. The attendees in “the pit” did a thing called “the wall of death.” I wonder if they still do that at Lamb of God shows? 

Preseason game one pregame festivities!

And what, I ask you, could possibly be a better way to start our first Seahawks game day then a rooftop deck brunch party with a live DJ and bottomless mimosas? Well, you can do just that at Breaks and Eggs, a location-undisclosed (location revealed upon ticket purchase) rooftop brunch with food by Nates Wings and Waffles. DJ Supreme La Rock will be on the wheels spinning old and new hip-hop. Tickets are $10-$25. 

Article source: https://12thmanrising.com/2017/08/10/beyond-game-seattle-events-12s-weekend-3/

How to garden for wildlife without upsetting your neighbors

by Nancy Lawson

A well-kept ecological garden can inspire others to follow suit. Photo by Meredith Lee/The HSUS.

The house next door sits vacant, placed on the market after the last renter moved out. A succession of owners has knocked down walls, replaced carpeting and installed standard-issue appliances.

Edging the exterior are shrubs from conventional landscaping palettes, including invasive species that encroach on wildlife habitat. The lawn receives a weekly crew cut by men on riding mowers, followed by gas-powered trimming and leaf blowing.

Though a real estate agent would call the property unoccupied, the box turtle who sometimes crosses the yard might beg to differ. The cardinal perching in the lone tree defies that sentiment, too.

Unlike humans, an adaptable species that can find food and shelter around the globe, many wild animals have limited ranges—and may never venture beyond our backyards. Unfortunately for these creatures, homeowners usually focus more on readying properties for resale than nurturing a home for other species. Research reveals that even when people want to garden ecologically, the desire to match the Joneses’ sterile turfgrass yard—and maintain cookie-cutter appearances for the real estate market—is a more powerful draw.

TAKE ACTION: Get your own Humane Backyard sign to help get others interested in gardening for wildlife.

But helping wildlife and meeting community standards aren’t mutually exclusive. Research also shows that well-kept ecological gardens influence people’s preferences for more diverse yards. By incorporating the following visual signals of care, we can fit in with all our neighbors, even the wild ones—and inspire more oases for animals.

Let plants lead by example.

When a highway planting of winterberry hollies bore stunning red fruit, homeowners called the Delaware Center for Horticulture to learn about the shrub. The response surprised University of Delaware associate professor Sue Barton. “By planting something on the roadside,” she says, “I could make a bigger impact on people than anything I could ever write or lecture about.” Adding native plants with flowers or fruit to your own yard can have a similar effect, providing priceless PR for wildlife gardens.

Add functional ornaments.

  • Birdbaths can signify human influence. Photo by Gary Kavanagh/iStock.com.

Birdbaths and water dishes also signify human influence. “It looks really nice, and it’s really a kind thing to do for wildlife, especially in the hottest days of the summer,” Peters says.

Bee boxes help ecological landscape designer Annie White educate her Burlington, Vermont, neighbors about cavity-nesting native bees. “When people are walking past my front gardens, they see these nesting boxes and they ask what they are,” she says. “And that starts the conversation.”

By placing a bat house atop a tree snag, Maryland artist Melinda Byrd created a sculptural habitat. Though bats have yet to roost, woodpeckers have excavated holes in the dead trunk, creating homes for nesting chickadees and bluebirds.

Frame the view.

Hedges of native shrubs or rows of native flowers help wildlife while also conveying neatness and order. A mowed strip along the road “frames patches of greater biodiversity with clear signs of human intention,” Michigan landscape architect Joan Iverson Nassauer once wrote, and makes unconventional plantings seem familiar. Arbors and well-placed containers also suggest a planned landscape.

Create pathways and edges.

Impenetrable plantings exacerbate feelings of separation from the natural world. Garden walkways have the opposite effect, inviting interaction with the landscape. When my 7-year-old niece found a mowed path through our meadow, she fired up her wheelchair and took off to explore, finding a new favorite spot under a tree.

Lining beds with rocks or branches creates navigational cues and hiding places for small animals. “I’m a huge fan of using found objects within the property,” says Jesse Elwert Peters, an ecological landscape designer from Saratoga Springs, New York. “The land that we live on is really rocky. Whenever we’re gardening, we dig up huge boulders.” Peters arranges these unearthed treasures among plants.

Hang signs of the times.

  • Signs like these let your neighbors know your landscaping is intentional. Photo by Meredith Lee/The HSUS.

Posted explanations of the importance of dead wood or the consequences of pesticides can help contextualize your efforts. Make your own signs or buy them from animal welfare and conservation organizations. My favorite in my own garden is The HSUS’s eye-catching Humane Backyard sign, which helps me spread the seeds of an idea—and the seeds of my wildlife-friendly plants—far beyond my own habitat.


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Article source: http://www.humanesociety.org/news/magazines/2017/09-10/wild-by-design-neighbors.html