Living with Wildlife

These two wandered in at dusk.

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What a spring it’s been for bird watching!

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The deer have a lot to eat this year, and so far haven’t bothered the garden very much. People ask how we can grow tulips and roses with deer around, and my answer is to hide the plants they love behind the ones they don’t. I plant daffodils around the tulips, and catmint around the roses. Most years that works.

The skunk in the picture above was a visitor for a couple of weeks…during the day! It ate constantly and wasn’t at all aggressive. Sometimes they do that in the spring when they’re really hungry after the winter. We haven’t seen it for a while, and that’s probably a good thing, but while it was here we heard stories from more than one person who had rescued baby skunks when the mother was hit by a car.  Xander the dog was intrigued by the skunk, but after his initial encounter he left it alone. He’s smart!

 

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More Flora and Fauna

New plants are blooming in the garden every day, and blooming in the greenhouses, too.

Scarlet Gilia

Scarlet Gilia

We planted the gilia last summer and it started blooming a few days ago. Hummingbirds love it–it’s native to Colorado and much of the West. We even have a few plants for sale in the nursery this year. It’s not the easiest to germinate, but it’s worth any effort.  Catmint is another plant that is blooming right now, and also a favorite of hummers. To say that it’s not hard to germinate is an understatement. That’s a broad-tailed hummingbird drinking from the flowers below.

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You can’t tell it, but the hummingbird in the next picture is sitting on a honeysuckle vine in the hummingbird garden. This particular honeysuckle has red flowers (Lonicera sempervirens) and is one of the hardiest and most well behaved of any vine you can plant for the hummers. It blooms from June to September most years, but this year there are already a few flowers open.

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Organic gardening pays off in many ways. We don’t use herbicides, so we have dandelions in our yard, and that means we get to watch the goldfinch eat dandelion seeds. Everything we grow is safe for humans, bees, butterflies, and birds.

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When the pilgrims came to America, they brought dandelions with them, along with catnip and horehound. All of those herbs have naturalized around most of the country. They can still feed birds, provide nectar for bees, and medicine and food for humans. We don’t have to eradicate them. Diversity in the garden and lawn means diversity of animal life and insect life as well as plant life. It’s a good thing.

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