Donna’s Garden, Early April

by Donna Lewis

As promised, I am taking photos of my pollinator garden every month or so.

The “Uri” storm or as I called it “The Arctic Beast” pretty much took a terrible toll on the garden. I was very upset about it. I understand that nature has its own way.

Nothing could stop the verbena!

The garden, along with so many animals and plants could not stand 10 days of freezing weather.    Many were lost to it. 

I and many others put out tons of extra bird seed. I know it helped some of the birds. I tried to keep water for them also. You have to do what you can.

Plants are returning! And there’s water for the birds.

So for the last couple of weeks, I have been trimming and cutting back all the dead plants in the garden. I’m using lots of love and TLC to bring it back for all the bees, birds, and butterflies that come to it. It has been a slow process.

It’s nice to see something green again.

But the very reason we try to get people to plant native plants is that they are tough and hard to kill. I am seeing green leaves and little buds everywhere. It makes me happy to see it and know that nature is very resilient. 

Looking healthy!

The monarchs are still coming through now. I hope I will have something blooming soon for them.   As Master Naturalists, we never give up trying to save our beautiful planet filled with amazing animals and a green paradise of plants.

As my favorite saying goes…

…we were not born to do everything,  but to do something.

Donna’s Garden Starting in January and Going All the Way to December of 2021

by Donna Lewis

I was asked to show the progress of my pollinator garden as the year goes on and to say a few things about what I do as it goes forward.

Bonus dog!

As you can imagine, I can only mention a few things, because gardening is an ongoing project every day. Each year the garden is different. Sometimes Mother Nature supplies plenty of water and wind born native plant seeds. But sometimes she decides to hold on to her precious water. You must be observant.

Sleepy vines

Just the water alone can determine what plants will be successful.

Right now the garden is asleep, as it should be. The leaves protect many things beside the plants. They are the blanket that keeps things warm. There are butterfly chrysalis that stay there until Spring tells them it’s time to wake up. So, removing the leaf litter too soon can steal from the garden the very animals you are hoping to see. Timing is everything!

Leaf litter is on duty.

Is there a rigid rule that I use to know when it’s time to clean up the garden?

NO!!!   If I knew that I would be famous.

Keeping the good kind of litter in its place.

I usually start now to just tidy up a few things. Nothing major. We all know that the last freeze has not happened, and we don’t know when it will.

Last year’s stems.

I had to pick up the mess the storm left just a week ago. Many limbs and bushes were broken. I cleaned all that up and removed it.

We’ll see what comes back in this circle!

In January, as in all months, you want to keep the water sources for your birds clean. My bird feeders are not inside the garden, but just outside it. That keeps the seed debris, rats, and feral cats from living in the garden.

Lots of water options

Soon as it warms up, I will begin to see what vines, bushes, and plants are reborn. Some gave their life for the garden last year, and I will have to reseed or replant them again.      The real miracle of gardening is about to start again.

A great place for birds to hang out.

Is it a lot of physical work? Yes it is. But, to me nothing you love to do is really work. My goal as always is not just to have a retreat to renew myself, but to help the wild things that share the planet with us.

I always try to learn what they need, and that’s what I put in the garden.

So, we’ll watch the garden blossom together.

Rest on a bench while Donna’s garden rests!