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Naturalization of my Property

Backyard - 2000 - Summer

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Jul/00: Here is a general view looking down the yard towards the pond.  The rock wall is visible in the lower right, and you can also se the tiny stream running along near the base of the wall.

The small grove of eastern cottonwoods is in the mid left of the picture, the woods area to the right.  In the background you can see the apple trees growing up and out.

In this project I have not been entirely fussy about whether the plants that grow are exactly native or not.  I strive to only plant native plants that are (or were) indigenous to this area.  However, I welcome non-natives that are not invasive, such as mullein.  My main objective has been to reduce the size of the lawn.

  

Jul/00: Here is another view looking towards the pond.

I keep trails mowed through the yard, for easy access to all parts.

It is astonishing the variety of wildflowers that are growing here, only one summer after I stopped cutting the grass!  Of course, I helped it along by planting numerous native plants, and scattering lots of seeds that I had collected.  But it is still amazing how quickly the naturalization process moves along!  A lot of plants grew up on their own.  You need to be careful to remove any invasive species that come in, though. 

And how beautiful the result is !!!

 

  

Naturalizing the yard wasn't really very hard!  All I did was:

  • Stop cutting the grass (the easiest part of all!).

  • Obtain and plant numerous field plants, preferably native, but allowing some non-natives to grow.

  • Pull up the grass around the plants, to give them room to grow, and so they wouldn't be lost in the grass as it grew tall.

  • Plant a few native trees & shrubs

  • Patrol the area for invasive weedy-type species and remove them.

  • Sit back and enjoy the beauty, the diversity, and the increased bird, insect, and animal life.

  

Jul/00: Here is a view of the pond, from the top of the sloping bank of the pond.  

The sloping ground down to the pond shore was the second area that I focused my efforts on (after the woods area).  Now, many native plants are well established here.  Some of these are visible to the right.

To the left is a big bunch of comfrey.  Gotta keep an eye on that...it spreads like crazy.  Also it's not native.  But it has colonized the top of the storm sewer outlet very well, and it can easily be contained there.

To the left of the comfrey (not visible) I have planted various varieties of raspberries and blackberries.  Near them is a grove of Jerusalem Artichokes.  These are a native species of sunflower, with delicious edible tubers.

  

Jul/00: Here is another view looking back towards the house.  This picture was taken from the shore of the pond.

In the foreground, to the left, are some of the plants on the pond slope.  The small eastern cottonwood grove is in the middle of the picture to the right.

  

Jul/00: This view of the rear of the house shows a bit of the fern garden that I planted all along there.  This is an ideal place for ferns, because this part of the yard is almost always in the shade, and keeps moist.

It's kind of overgrown by this time of the summer by other native plants, such as both kinds of jewelweed and solomons seal.

That's the sit area in the left foreground.

  

Jul/00: It's hard to believe that just one summer ago everything you see here was a monoculture desert of lawn grass !!

The results of naturalization are extremely rewarding, since they are evident in such a short time.

  

The increase in animal and bird life in the backyard is astonishing.  There are at least 5 chipmunks living in the area, and I have seen all 5 at once in the yard.  I have seen up to 13 squirrels at once.  And one day I counted 20 different bird species in the yard.  I have seen rabbits, a groundhog, raccoons, a mink in the pond.  Sometimes a hawk swoops down and grabs a sparrow for a snack.  Great Blue Herons wade in the shallows of the pond, and ducks and geese visit regularly.  In the evening bats flit about over the pond, feasting on the insects.

I have seen some very unusual insects and their ilk as well.  For example, in the summer of 2000 I found  completely yellow spider clinging to the wild bergamot flowers. 

  

Naturalization:  Before    1999    2000  •  2001  •  2002  •  2004  •  2005
Before & After Comparisons    Plant List    Animal List

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