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AiC Blog

Brutal winter/land restoration

Posted on February 27, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    This has been a brutal Michigan winter so far.  We've been long overdue for one.  The reality of the weather should suppress the efforts of local global warming alarmists!  :) The deer are sticking to defined, beaten-down trails in sheltered areas.  See a lot of them on the roads, where they can freely move about expending less energy, at night while I am driving.  

    Had finished a bunch of work on our native woodland wildflower "Tree Island Garden" just before the cold and snowy weather hit in December of 2013.  Removed nuisance poison ivy and Virginia creeper vines along with a number of exotic/invasive species earlier in the fall.  Into the middle tier of bare soil, via a purchase from Minnesota's Prairie Moon Nursery, went a shady woodland forb/grass seed mix of wild leek, columbine, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, poke milkweed, Drummond's aster, arrow-leaved aster, Short's aster, harry wood mint, tall bellflower, pointed-leaved tick trefoil, wild geranium, goldenseal, great waterleaf, bishop's cap, sweet cicely, Jacob's ladder, Soloman's seal, woodland knotweed, lion's foot, hairy mountain mint, Soloman's plume, elm-leaved goldenrod, early meadow rue, hairy wood chess, gray sedge, slender wood sedge, common bur sedge, beak grass, silky wild rye, Virginia wild rye and bottlebrush grass.  Around the west and northwest perimeter of the garden I added some rose milkweed.  Put down an inch to two-inch layer of shredded white pine needles as a protective mulch once the seeding was done.  A big thanks to my close friend "Practical (Ryan) Parnaby" for the use of his motorized shredder for this endeavor!

    This spring a dozen bareroot stock Virginia bluebells, a dozen bareroot stock goldenseals and a dozen bareroot stock shooting stars, all rare/protected species in Michigan, will be arriving complements of Prairie Moon Nursery.  I will plant these in bare areas in our top tier of the three-tier Tree Island Garden.  Will be nice to see some mature plants possibly flower in their first year.  If not, the second year for sure.  Will have to be patient with the seed as it may take three to five years before mature/flowering plants are visible!

    On my personal "want list" for future woodland plantings are more hepaticas and baneberries (both red and white), and bunch berries, twinleafs, oak ferns, ostrich ferns, cinnamon ferns, marginal wood ferns, bulblet ferns and maidenhair ferns for the first time.  

    Although wildflower gardening is a lot of work, it is fun and rewarding to see the fruits of one's efforts once the forbs show their beautiful blooms.  Man's first assignment from God was to be a tiller and keeper of the garden (Genesis 2:15).  There is something special about working the soil.  An array of native species provides the benefits of biodiversity in a landscape that is quickly becoming overrun with exotic and invasive species.  Our family hopes to continue land restoration efforts in other sectors of our property on a yearly basis until most of the workable estate is covered with well-established native grass, fern, forb, shrub and tree species.  We look forward to sharing our progress with you.

- Jim Burns

Categories: Wildlife Way Journal

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