SO, an idea that has been on my mind for the better part of 2 years is finally beginning to come alive. That is to recreate my backyard lawn into a native prairie landscape. In the beginning it seemed a good idea for cutting down the time spent mowing and watering grass. We will see how that plays out in reality. I figure this conversion will take about 3 years to complete. The length of time to complete is two fold. first the shrubs need time to grow into their space and secondly, the plants are expensive.
The first phase of this project is to create screens along the property lines. This will define the space and block unwanted visual objects from my upcoming oasis. Shrubs are what I planted to create this screen. Along the back property line I used Vibernun (Nannyberry). These shrubs will grow 15' to 20' tall and most importantly, they will flower in the summer and produce berries in the fall. These berries will be important for attracting and feeding birds. Along the other property line I planted Weigela. This shrub grows 6' tall and produces deep red trumpet shaped flowers. This is to attract humming birds. As these shrubs grow into their spaces I will fill the remainder of lawn space with flower beds that will include asters, blazing star, cone flowers and black eyed susan. I selected these flowers for drought tolerance as well as for their ability to attract birds, bees and butterflies.
To add a bit of hominess, to this project, we have placed bird feeders and baths. It took almost 2 weeks for the birds to show interest in the feeders. Now that they know free meals are being served, they are happy to oblige our hospitality. To keep the mosquito population in check, I built and erected a bat house (chateau Belfry). the wife is responsible for the naming of the bat house. This home will accommodate about 150 bats. consider that each bat will consume 6,000 to 10,000 mosquitoes a day! That alone is a great reason to have little bat buddies around. I am also hoping that they will use the bat house and leave our patio umbrellas alone.
What this project has become is an opportunity for me to observe and photograph wildlife in my back yard. No need to travel to a location to do so. I am looking forward to what may show up in my oasis. Bring a pitcher of arnie palmer or snacks and join us as we relax and shoot critters.