Labor Day began winding down a season of garden delights. Summer flowers have gone but cheerful late bloomers will keep bees busy a while: pink Turtlehead, lavender Obedient Plant, golden Rudbeckia, many Asters & Anemone, a few Phlox, and Oak Leaf Hydrangea blossoms fading to pale violet.
It’s been great seeing varied wildlife in the yard this summer. Melodic song birds as well as raucous calls of crows, blue jays and wrens greeting the dawn. Each day, our yard had scores of birds flitting between flowers, feeders, shrubs and trees: chickadees, titmice, finches, cardinals, grosbeaks, woodpeckers, flycatchers, doves, hummingbirds and more. At dusk, bats were catching mosquitos and sometimes we enjoyed an owl hooting.
Also darting and swooping among flowers, shrubs and trees were myriad insects, including a dozen kinds of butterflies as well as dragonflies, damselflies, caddisflies, wasps, bees, ladybugs, beetles and crickets. On the ground are bold chipmunks, stealthy moles, wily squirrels and curious cottontails. Along with an occasional red fox stalking them. All part of this amazing ecosystem.
Earlier this year, we certified our backyard habitat with the National Wildlife Federation’s global network of mini-refuges. It required a small fee and a few minutes to answer questions about food, shelter and water to sustain wildlife. The NWF also offers plenty of tips for the essential elements of a healthy backyard habitat.
Fall is a fine time to enhance wildlife habitat in your yard. Planting shrubs and trees will offer flowers and berries next year. Planting evergreens and creating brush piles can provide shelter over winter. For more interesting ideas, visit http://www.nwf.org/How-to-Help/Garden-for-Wildlife/Create-a-Habitat.aspx