how to create wildlife habitats

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The owner removed a lot of buckthorn from this sixty foot diameter semicircle. His best gardening efforts were in vain however, as his garden was soon overcome by weeds.

We herbicided everything - mostly goldenrod - rotortilled the area, added several yards of topsoil and regraded the bed. We then changed the layout of the paths.

About 60 species were planted - grasses, sedges and wildflowers - that will bloom from spring until winter.

Here is a similar view, early summer of the following year.

Here is the garden in the following fall. A colorful scarecrow oversees the Coneflowers, Sweet Black-eyed Susan and grasses.

Rattlesnake Master, Eryngium yuccifolium, may look like something found in a desert but is native to the Illinois prairie.

The Wild Burgamot, Monarda fistulosa, was planted next to the driveway to keep it kind of in place. It can get aggressive and needs to be watched.

Prairie Blazing Star, Liatris pycnostachya, budding Prairie Dock, Silphium terebinthinaceum, Starry Campion, Silene stellata, Wild Bergamont, Monarda fistulosa and Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta, in the foreground set off the beautiful home in the background.

Now in the middle of its second year, this garden is almost lush and full.

It is hard to believe but that this garden is continually browsed by deer and rabbits.

Summer, three years after planting.

The garden has arrived. Tall spikes of Culver's Root, Veronacastrum virginicum (center), Nodding Wild Onion, Allium cernuum (lower right), and Wild Quinine, Parthenium integrifolium (lower left), add refreshing cool white to a sea of green.

Sweet Indian Plantain, Cacalia suaveolens, stands about seven feet tall. Its pointed arrowhead shaped leaves and wide flat flowerheads make this an impressive plant somewhere in the background of your garden.

Winter brings new magic to the view.

The dormant grasses provide habitat and food for rodent-like critters and over-winterting birds.

Winter's Magic!

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