Middle South

August, 2012
Regional Report

Plant Junipers for Birds

Dense and prickly-leafed native junipers provide valuable shelter for birds, and some, such as the eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), produce huge crops of berrylike cones that are quickly gobbled up. Cedar waxwings, named for their affinity for the red cedar, and 45 other bird species feed on the beautiful blue and tasty cones.

Look to Beetles for Pollination

Beetles comprise roughly 25 percent of all known animal species, but few gardeners realize they are important pollinators. Though some are thugs in the garden, eating their way through petals and other flower parts, others have a highly developed nose and work their pollinating magic on many garden favorites such as dogwoods, magnolias, crabapples, poppies, peonies, irises, and water lilies.

Attract Butterflies with Flower Clusters

Butterflies need a roomy landing pad, so many of the flowers that attract them offer clusters of flowers on a stem, rather than a single bloom. Favorite natives include milkweed and Joe-Pye weed.

Remove Out-Of-Control English Ivy

One of the most difficult jobs in my new garden has been the removal of the English ivy that had escaped cultivation and taken over the woodland areas of the property. The plant's waxy leaves are almost impervious to herbicide, so the best method of control is hand pulling. The job can actually be quite satisfying after a spell of rain when the soil is moist. Be sure to cut the ivy out of trees too, as it weakens trees by shading their foliage.

Build a Bee Block

It's easy to build a nesting block for solitary bees. Simply use a scrap of preservative-free lumber, at least 4-inches deep and 8-inches long, and drill different size nesting holes for various species. Space the holes about 3/4-inches apart, from center to center, and drill deeply but not through the back of the block. Hang the nesting house on an east or south-facing fence or other structure that gets morning sun, as bees need warmth to get going.

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