Our crazy Ohio weather has shown us that winter is finally here.
The birds continue to flock to our feeding station and the squirrels have discovered the bird seed block. I noticed lots of deer prints and coyote prints in the snow in our front yard. Thank goodness I didn’t find any trace of a confrontation.
Since there hasn’t been enough snow to head out on my snowshoes, I have been looking through the seed catalogs and have started to make my preliminary lists and stapling them to the front cover. (I have been known to lose my lists otherwise.)
Several of the garden newsletters have some great ideas to add to your gardening resolutions for 2016. The National Federation of Wildlife’s list included: 1) Provide food for wildlife; Everyone needs to eat. Planting native forbs, shrubs and trees is the easiest way to provide the foliage, nectar, pollen, berries, seeds and nuts that many species of wildlife require to survive and thrive. You can also incorporate supplemental feeders and food sources. 2) Supply water for wildlife; Wildlife need clean water sources for many purposes, including drinking, bathing and reproduction. 3) Create Cover for Wildlife; Wildlife require places to hide in order to feel safe from people, predators and inclement weather. Use things like native vegetation, shrubs, thickets and brush piles or even dead trees.
4) Give Wildlife a place to raise their young; Wildlife need a sheltered place to raise their offspring. Many places for cover can double as locations where wildlife can raise young, from wildflower meadows and bushes where many butterflies and moths lay their eggs, or cave where bats roost and form colonies, and 5) Help wildlife thrive with healthy habitat; Wildlife thrives in a health habitat with the food sources appropriate to their ecosystem, clean water, and plants free from harmful chemicals. Practicing sustainable gardening with the use of native plants, water conservation, and not using pesticides or herbicides ensures wildlife abundance.
My wish list for 2016 includes: 1) A pollinator-friendly world, 2) Affordable, healthy, fresh food for all, 3) More rain where it’s needed – less where it’s not, and 4) Build a healthy future through gardening.
To a gardener, optimism comes naturally. We always think to ourselves, “Last year was a tough one, but this year will be better.”
It’s time to get out the garden journal and sharpen that pencil. Spring is just around the corner!