Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Hedgerow and Wildlife

One of the things I decided to plant in my yard was a hedgerow for wildlife. This hedgerow provides benefits for the human animal occupants at our address as well. As a wind screen, the hedgerow slows the massive winds we get in the Tooele valley. It also provides cover for birds, insects and spiders. The hedgerow provides many things for wildlife. The bushes and trees in the hedgerow are generally fairly xeric, requiring only minimal amounts of water to keep them healthy. Year after year of leaf litter builds up the soil there creating humous which retains much of the moisture it gets. Below are the list of bushes and trees in the hedge.

Cercocarpus ledifolius- curl-leaf mahagony
Forestiera neomexicana- new mexican privet
Quercus gambellii- gambel oak
Acer grandidentatum- rocky mountain sugar maple
Shepherdia argentea- silver buffalo-berry
Quercus macrocarpa- bur oak
Pinus aristata- bristlecone pine
Cornus sericea- red-twig dogwood

All of these are native to the U.S. and the diversity of food provides for many different species of lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) as well as insects for birds such as nuthatches, wilson's warbliers, and members of the woodpecker family.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Planting In Winter

Several of the penstemon species I planted in the fridge are now beginning to germinate. Setting them on potting soil and keeping them watered, hopefully, I'll have some healthy plants ready for the garden in May. You have to love penstemons, because it takes love to grow them. But boy do they reward you every spring and early summer. Just as the bulbs fade, the penstemons are there to pick up the slack, providing color for your yard, and nectar and pollen for the critters in your yard.

I'm also looking forward to planting more of several species that I fell in love with last year. Salvia mojavensis, Salvia darcyi, and Aquilegia chrysantha are just a few plants I've decided I need more of. Happy planting.