Monday, May 2, 2011

May Is Garden for Wildlife Month!

While my seedlings are sprouting to life, I am taking the opportunity to explore the great out of doors in Historic Woodruff Place as viewed through the watchful eyes of our wildlife friends! The actual real estate developed into Woodruff Place was once a dense forest appropriately named The Dark Woods. There are still remnant ancient trees in the neighborhood. I am proud to say that my neighbors are avid planters of new trees, too. Our canopy is so lush in places, there is no need to use an umbrella in light rain. I feel like I am living in a forest paradise!
Our own yard is springing into naturalized garden splendor as the spectacular bulb flower show fades. Although not so pretty to humans, this is paradise for wildlife. That's why we have owls in the yard. They find plenty of food from the creatures dining on the
plants as they find plenty of their own food. The best way to understand nature is to live closely to it. If you create a place that nature likes,
it will show up at your door!

Welcome to Fair Haven! This is my landlord's estate in Woodruff Place. Not only is my landlord known as a planter of trees, the unique development of his own real estate puts him on the cutting edge of modern landscaping design. He does have plenty of lawn in his 2 acre yard. And there are raised beds for flowers and
vegetables. The really fascinating gardens are the TWO National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habits in this yard! There is a woodland and a prairie in this yard! These are places for the wildlife to thrive and not for people to disturb.

This is the exterior view of the woodland adjacent to the south side of the house.
This is the view from the bedroom, too. Imagine waking up in a city with a view of wilderness! This area is left alone to evolve itself over time. For many years, I lived
in an apartment with a balcony in the back of this house and it was exactly like living
in a tree house!

Walking along a path in the woodland, I was quite impressed with how lush this garden had become in five years since I moved to the Test House. When you begin a wildlife habitat, it will continue to evolve itself.
Although it is possible to physically plant a habitat, my landlord prefers to designate an area and let it restore itself naturally. This fabulous squirrel house conveniently located in a black walnut tree, left, is one of the few human created additions to the woodland. This area was certified long before I moved to Woodruff Place
in 1989.

This is the exterior view of the prairie. It became a certified
habitat in the mid 1990's and I had the pleasure of watching the natural processes of ecological succession develop this
garden. It started as a lot left alone in the early '90's. Gradually, the plants took it over and I remember seeing the landlord and his wife carefully identifying the plants, birds and animals for the application for NWF certification.

Look at it today! There are no paths through this habitat and the only reason to enter it has been to remove trash people have dumped in there, which is rare. I found a spot on the edge of the prairie to take the photograph on the left so you can see the amazing
interior of a place left undisturbed by humans for two decades.

All of this in one yard in a city! Are you inspired? Don't worry if you don't have sprawling acres and years to wait to develop your own wildlife garden. National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitats can take infinite forms! Please click the link below to learn more and start the certification process. To celebrate their 75th anniversary, the NWF will plant a tree in YOUR honor just for certifying! It does not get greener than that!

Just as my landlord has the patience to watch his woodland and prairie grow, I have to patience to watch my seedlings begin their life cycle. My green beans are being really ambitious and already have true leaves, so they have been transplanted into a hanging basket where they eventually grow when I move the garden
from the house plant stand into the bathroom in a few weeks.

Everything else has sprouted and is well on its way to forming real leaves. Until then, I have wrapped them back up in plastic to retain moisture and warmth. Because they are growing so ambitiously, I used twigs from the yard to elevate the plastic covering for more "head room".

The plants and I are moving along at the same pace. My job now is to finalize the planning of my vertical BathroomFarm... and to creatively raise money for proper lighting. It's a good thing my neighborhood has a legendary community yard sale! I'm getting my act together now for Quality Junk...Don't Miss This!

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