I've been posting Wildflower Wednesdays for 13 years. To quote a post from May 2009~
Wildflower Wednesday started
out as a regular post to celebrate the wildflowers in my garden.
It's been a fun way to introduce you to my soul mates! I treasure
them and love sharing them. They grow with ease if planted in the right
spot and they draw native fauna, like bees, birds and butterflies to
the garden. There are articles all over the internet extolling their
virtues. You've read many, I'm sure! Here's how I sum it up~Native wildflowers are good for the earth and good for its inhabitants. (Here for the post)
|Hamamelis vernalis blooming now|
Of course I still love wildflowers and of course I plan to continue sharing them on the Fourth Wednesday of every month, but, it's time to shake it up with a challenge.
A two part challenge!
The first part of this challenge is to do something every month during 2022 that supports native wildflowers, pollinators, and the critters that visit and rely on our gardens. Activities that increase our knowledge of the natural world are equally as valuable. Below you'll find a list of possible activities you could do...If you choose to participate! But, don't limit yourself to my list, make your own list or check out the internet for ideas.
|An ex-aster in winter|
Why post it? Because positive publicity is needed to educate our friends, neighbors and communities about how important even the smallest changes we make as gardeners can be for pollinators, birds, insects and mammals that live all around us.
Why now? My neighborhood is changing. Yours might be, too. Every day a 1950s ranch along with many of the mature oak, hickory and hackberry trees that have been there for over 75 years are bulldozed down. In place of the "bee lawns" composed of Salvia lyrata, Ruellia humilis, fleabane, Western Daisy, violets, self-heal, clovers, Dandelions that grew so well in the shallow soil that sits on top of limestone bedrock are sodded non-native lawns that get daily watering, whether it rains or not. Gone are the lightening bugs. Gone are the ground dwelling/nesting native bees. Gone is the habitat for insects, spiders and other critters. Gone is plant diversity. Gone are trees that provided for hundreds of moths, butterflies and other insects. Gone are the nesting sites for woodpeckers, hummingbirds, Chickadees and other birds. It breaks my heart. We can't stop the multi-million dollar houses from going up, but, maybe we can make a lot of educational noise and help our new neighbors see the value in providing for critters.
A gardener can hope!
An incomplete list of things you might consider doing or changing in your garden
Shrink your lawn and make your planting beds larger.
Plant your favorite native perennials and shrubs. Leave them standing after they've gone to seed to continue to provide for wildlife. What you plant in your yard makes a difference to wildlife. I garden for wildlife so every tree, shrub and plant is chosen with wildlife in mind.
Plant more natives and then consider planting even more. "A typical suburban landscape contains only 20-30% native plant species. Try reversing that trend in your own landscape by using 70-80% native species." (source)
Commit to never, ever, ever, ever using pesticides in the garden.
Stay away from native plant hybrids and cultivars that are double flowered. They are sterile and have no pollen or nectar for insects and no seeds for the birds. If possible plant “true open-pollinated native wildflowers”
If you want to garden for wildlife and pollinators, don't let lack of
space stop you! Plant your favorite wildflowers in large containers.
You just might have the prairie or woodland garden you've always wanted...in a pot!
Create a water feature. Provide water year round that is accessible to birds, bees and other critters.
Show some soil! Our native ground nesting bees nest in bare soil, so don't mulch every square inch of your garden.
Invite bugs into your garden. Plant annuals that attract beneficial bugs.
Learn to tolerate damaged plants. Imperfection is the new perfect.
Leave a layer of leaves as a soft landing material under trees for moths and butterflies to over winter. Many caterpillars drop to the ground from the trees in the fall.
Make a brush pile. Stack fallen brush, cut tree limbs, broken pots for ground beetles. Ground beetles are excellent at eating "bad bugs'. They're also good bird, toad and small critter food.
Rethink what you consider a pest. Lots of good bugs eat aphids. Spiders are important predators and bird food!
Add nesting boxes for birds.
Plant shrubs and small trees that provide berries and nuts.
Keep a nature journal: Observe visitors to the water feature, make note of when they visit. Notice which flowers attract the most pollinators and which ones are just pretty faces.
Join your state native plant society.
Join WildOnes even if there's no local group.
Take an online course on tree, fungi and wildflower id.
Take a walk in your neighborhood and observe nature. To quote Joanna Brichetto in Sidewalk Nature "Look Around. Nature is here, is us, our driveways, our baseboards, parks, and parking lots."
Buy the best wildflower, butterfly and bird id books for your state.
Read nature books to your children and grandchildren.
Read! There are hundreds of books on gardening for wildlife, the environment, and rewilding our world. There are delightful blogs with wonderful and informative articles.
Please make suggestions to improve this list!
Welcome to Clay and Limestone and Wildflower Wednesday. This day is about sharing wildflowers and other native plants no matter where one gardens~the UK, tropical Florida, Europe, Australia, Africa, South America, India or the coldest reaches of Canada. It doesn't matter if we sometimes share the same plants. How they grow and thrive in your garden is what matters most.
Please leave your links in comments, I am not using Mr Linky.
Keep warm and keep positive,
|The sunny areas are the shallowest so I add containers|
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.