Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Wildlife Habitat Garden

I toured Ron's garden on Sunday. He was very kind and his passion for gardening did show through. I was impressed by the gorgeous container plantings. One of my favorites was the mix of Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost', Opal Innocence and Supertunia Bordeaux.

Ron and his wife have lived in their home less than two years and are working on making the garden their own. Their home is located in a historical area of Clarksville and has mature gardens when Ron moved in. Unfortunately some of the planting were over grown and Ron has sought to rectify the situation by replacing several foundation plantings. Ron tells me his next big project will be a backyard renovation.

Gardening aspects come in many varieties and styles; mine is primarily focused on wildlife habitat. Those who garden will have wildlife, so it makes sense to assist with the diminishing wildlife habitat.

Delona Shockey contacted me and requested my assistance with the upcoming Master Gardener tour. She wanted me to detail the aspects of wildlife habitat because it is my passion and experience. I could not give Delona a direct answer because I was enrolled in a training class for SHRM certification and I would have an unknown test date to schedule. I called Delona about ten days later and she would not let me say no. I had less than a month to prepare for the tour.

While working full-time, working on the garden every spare minute I had, and using daily project lists, I was ready for the tour.

My wife suggested a sign in log which turned out to be very informative. For the Saturday tour, Jim Pugh and I entertained approximately 160 visitors. Eight master gardener volunteers visited on Sunday afternoon.

I heard many positive comments, such as, "This looks great," and "I like this arrangement." Perhaps the best compliments came from individuals' comments like, "My phlox does not look like this," "My marigolds are bushy like these," and "I never thought about putting grass in pot." I even observed one individual take off his shoes and walk in the grass to note the thickness.

Despite the limited preparation time and the stress of getting things ready, I view the experience as positive. I think my advice and suggestions were helpful to the visitors and the compliments were nice to hear.

No anecdotes from me here, I think Ron's stories say it all. Someone taking off his shoes to feel the grass? How great is that on a tour?

I appreciate Ron taking the time to write this up and share his experience with the tour. I think many gardeners can relate to the daunting task of preparing for a tour and I am so glad the experience was positive!

Do you all hear that? Don't be afraid to be on a tour.

in the garden....


  1. Two posts in one day!

    I think folks who open their gardens to tours are pretty incredible. The last PPS tour I attended (May) none of the gardens were magazine perfect but they were all delightful. It's kind of neat to be able to see gardens in the beginning and then a tour later when they have matured a bit.

    Thanks Tina for showing us all these lovely gardens.


  2. What a nice idea, to have your garden just for the wildlife.

  3. His grass does look really good. Did he happen to say what kind of grass(es) he used? His marigolds look great. Gardening for wildlife is one of the reasons I like gardening, although not for the bunnies!

  4. Great post again Tina. You are right, the bare feet in the thick grass is the highest of compliments.

  5. Good morning Tina. I am so happy to see more and more folks taking an interest in wildlife habitat in their gardens. More people want to live in harmony with birds and animals instead of driving them away. It's great that people like you are willing to give up your time to help promote that goal.

    Preserving and developing habitat is my passion too, but I'm embarrassed to tell you I'm not doing enough to further the cause.

  6. I'd about give my right arm for grass like that.

  7. Gail, This is the problem. Late night last night and bad day yesterday. Apparently I had scheduled this post and forgot about it. That is why two so close together. Urrrrr!

    Dawn, It is nice. You need only provide: food, water, shelter and a place to raise young. It is welcoming and Ron is right when he says when you garden you will have wildlife.

    Dave, Being a bit anal about grass I asked Ron what type he had and what he did. He has fescue and Bermuda. He overseeds the bermuda in the fall with fescue to keep the lawn green all winter. The two grasses actually mix very well in the summer. I was surprised. But you will NEVER EVER find Bermuda in my lawn.

    Frances, Yes grass and bare feet is wonderful. Even better laying in it-once I get rid of ticks!

    Marnie, You garden so that is great! More than what many people do. You also work with the domesticated which is even better!

    Jillybean, Me too.

  8. I sure do agree with all the folks that say it is great to help all the wildlife. With so much of their habitat being lost due to the increase of our heavy developing of their habitat they are truly at risk.

    The other thing that really struck me is the grass and the comments. Living in the north, it always amazes me when people in the south talk about their grass and the problems they have.
    We throw grass seed down and in no time we have a lush lawn, don't have to do another thing but mow and NEVER adjust mower length!! But then I do remember living in GA. Not a place that you wanna go barefoot in the dried out grass in the summer. I think that was one of the top things I missed when living down there, the grass.

  9. I agree Tina, Bermuda is the bane of gardeners! The grass not the country. I will eradicate it like the plague if it decides to show up.

  10. Jean, I promise you can walk barefoot in my Georgia grass! It is that lush and pampered by me! LOL...

    A Topic dear to my heart! I think that a balance with nature and our love of flowers can be managed. I have so many different critters in my yard. I feel we moved into the woods in the animal’s Kingdom so we need to do what we can to bring a nice balance and live in harmony with them. That is why I never wanted a Veggie Garden. I knew it would be a constant fight with deer, rabbit, squirrels, etc. But this year I took the plunge and went for a veggie garden. And so far, all is well... For now anyway but if the deer, rabbit, etc win the battle so be it as they probably think I provided the veggies for them anyway! I can always get food at the grocery store but with this drought, the animals are not as lucky as me…

    I think it is important to balance human and nature needs as we all do need each other to survive in the end....

    Great Curve Appeal on the house! So inviting…

  11. Mom, You are right about the south and their grass, depending on where you live you must really work for soft thick grass. Not the kind you grow in Maine. Georgia would have warm season grasses, but they can look nice-as Skeeter noted.

    Dave-So true! Gerianne lives her life trying to figure out how to stop the neighbor's finely manicured Bermuda from invading her space. Ron seemed not to have a problem though. The fescue was thicker.

    Skeeter, My mother lived in "Wiregrass" country when she lived in Georgia. The name wiregrass says it all. Yuck!

  12. Wire is just what it was like and nothing soft, lush or pretty about it. Now that is not to say a few people did not have nice lawns. BUT....they had to put a lot of time and money in it. Here it just happens!!!

  13. How interesting! I really do like the arrangements in the pots.

  14. Hey guys, Long day in the garden. It doesn't help I have to water everything before I can dig! Mom, even in Maine you have to work at a nice lawn. But because the grass up there is cool season and softer, it seems so much better. No red ants too and that is a bonus there.

    DP, You are so funny with your blog. Naive? Maybe, but cute and good luck with the watermelons! Mine are doing awful! Probably a good thing so they don't take over the flower garden.:)

    Hi Lola, Nina and Anonymous! Hope your summer is going well and you are enjoying it. Hard to believe it is July already. School start soon. I know Anonymous will let me know-high school! OMG!

  15. Forgot to say, I THINK I have tomorrow's post right-hope so. It is on my garden tour, then I have one more garden post to go-can you all handle just two more?

  16. Enjoyed you posts. Do as many as you want to. I love reading & learning about them.

  17. Tina, I love the idea of a garden designed for wildlife. You sound so busy! Good luck getting it all done. I'd rather be out in the garden but am busy packing and cleaning in between entertaining my visiting family in these final couple weeks in England.