Friday, March 12, 2010

A Garden to Watch

Here is a garden I'm itching to see unfold: a suburban yard that has been rebuilt as a native plant habitat, including wetland. Kory and Emily are yard-novices like Chris and I. They did their overhaul the scary way: in one fell swoop, with big equipment. Follow this link to see photos of their yard as it was transformed, and be sure to read the captions!

I am particularly intrigued by their use of a pond liner filled with dirt to create a wetland. Our yard has plenty of wetland, but it's all back in the shade, so I can't grow cranberries or carnivorous pitcher plants. Nor is there much I can do to it, legally, since it is protected land. Not that I mind: it's perfect already. Perhaps there is a full-sun wetland patch in my lawn's future, instead. . .

If Kory and Emily's yard had been mine, I would have done a few things differently. Being a lazy cheapskate, I would have mostly built up instead of digging down against those nasty roots. Here's a fantastic example of a prairie built up on a pile of free fill. (And I do love free fill!) And I would likely have chosen to develop the yard in bite-sized chunks, out of some irrational fear of living in a temporary construction-induced moonscape. But that's just me, and I know my approach to ecosystem gardening is only one of many.

I envision Kory and Emily's garden in the future being filled in with ground-covers instead of mulch, dotted riotously with flowers, and perhaps including a little meandering path so that visitors can get up close and personal with the wetland plants. Please continue to post photos of your yard, guys! I'll be eagerly watching.


Anonymous said...

What a fantastic idea! I have found the pond to be crucial to attracting wildlife. It has a resident green frog and a visiting toad. The highlight is tree frog breeding season. Their song is deafening and my pond is full of them. Many have become so tame they will continue signing after being caught and held in the hand.
A little topography made with fill dirt and covered in grasses would be wonderful.
I have found the best backyards are those with winding paths that allow you to discover a new garden scene at every turn.
Post pictures Kory!

Garden Consultant said...

Really enjoy your blog and your article on Garden Rant - and phooey on WG (kind of an odd group I think). Love your perspectives. You'd be so welcome here out west. Lots of lawn conversion backyard and front! Keep at it. Have you tried to certify your frontyard naturescape as a Wildlife Habitat?

Maybe then the neighbors will pipe-down.

Central Phoenix AZ

Carole said...

Michelle, there are many approaches to Ecosystem Gardening, and you are doing a great job! I love the idea of creating wetland with a liner filled with dirt. That way the turtles and other critters can easily get in and out, unlike rigid liner ponds that they are unable to navigate.

Michelle said...

Thanks everyone!

Reptilesalive, you remind me that I need to do a post on my backyard paths. . .

Garden Consultant - thanks. :) I do have one of those Wildlife Habitat signs displayed in my front yard, in fact. And I look forward to reading your blog!

Carole, thanks for stopping by. As always, I love your blog.