Sunday, March 6, 2011

Choice of Garden Plants Matters to Bird Survival

Doug Tallamy and his wife, Cindy, built their house seven years ago in the middle of 10 acres of former hayfields.

The land was so thick with multiflora rose that they couldn’t walk, so Mr. Tallamy cut paths with hand loppers. They paint on the herbicide, rather than spraying it, because they don’t want to damage the treasures below: under those thorny rose bushes might be seedlings of black oak, Florida dogwood, black gum or arrowwood viburnum.

A meadow cleared of autumn olive can resprout with goldenrod, joe-pye weed, milkweed, black-eyed Susans and many other natives crucial to wildlife.

It’s hard work, but the Tallamys love being outside. And they share a vision, an imperative, really, that Mr. Tallamy lays out in a book, “Bringing Nature Home” (Timber Press, $27.95), published in November.

They are struggling to plant the native species that are needed for insects and animals to flourish. As exotic ornamentals leap the garden fence and out-compete the native plants, many creatures are starving to death because they did not evolve with the exotics and simply can’t eat them. Please read the entire article ....

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