Submitted by Joanne Benjamin-Lederer
Thank you, Mrs. Venning, for your recent article in the June/2022 issue of the N.E.B. I agree wholeheartedly with almost every word you composed.
This past winter my daughter Tina and I hatched a plan, an experiment: we would designate a third of my long backyard as an all-natural space. The remaining two-thirds are more manicured and slightly formal. We foraged for wildflowers and animal/insect-friendly plants in the fall and cultivated them in early March. We gathered and piled downed tree branches in a corner for critters to hide under. Five mature trees thrive in and around this wild area. Tina drilled holes in four logs; nests for wild bees. She distributed the logs into sheltered stacks. A bat box is nailed to a tree and awaits occupancy.
How amazing it is to witness the expeditious takeover nature has accomplished in such a minimal amount of time! We encourage readers to try this. Since the transformation, the presence of flora and fauna has changed dramatically. Song birds I haven’t heard in years have returned. Rabbits, a young ground hog, opossums, garter snakes, and of course raccoons have all been in and out of the area at will. Bordering the yard are 12-foot cedars — a living fence — housing birds throughout the year. From the first snow to late April, I provide a heated source of fresh water and premium seeds. In warm weather the bird crowd together in my large, concrete bird bath. Many days it has to be refilled two or three times.
I must tell you Mrs. Venning, I prefer black mulch as opposed to using leaves as mulch, which I replenish in late spring on the front garden. On this subject we can agree to disagree with grace. Wouldn’t it be a boring world if the everyone liked all the same things?