Sassy and I walk twice a day, and I covet the neighbors' leaves. Some are solid mats covering the lawn. I have only seen a few green bags out. However, friends of our dear departed neighbor, Mrs. Wright, were in her yard raking leaves. They asked over the fence, "Where can we put the green bags full of leaves?"
I said,"Toss them over the fence. I need them all." Naturally they were curious about half the backyard covered with cardboard, perhaps a Springdale first. I said, "That will be our Wild Garden, with the cardboard covered with leaves and mulch, planted with bird, bee, and butterfly plants."
I ended up with six large bags on my side of the fence, heaven-sent. I am soliciting more from neighbors, but I will probably get most of them in the spring, since we are still enjoying a very warm fall. A dandelion and a rose bloomed in December. In a few days it will be almost 70 degrees. Each day has been sunny.
Yesterday, the Jackson Bird Paradise was acknowledged by all the bird populations as starlings, doves, sparrows, finches, cardinals, and chickadees stopped in to prepare for the cold, wet night. Birds need calories to stay warm, so they carbo-load ahead of bad weather.
Ingredients for the Jackson Bird Paradise are:
- No poisons are used in the yard - pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, tobacco products. Oh yes, nicotine is a powerful insecticide.
- Many forms of shelter are available - bushes, trees, wild areas.
- Multiple feeding stations are provided with four kinds of food - suet for insect eaters, corn for blue jays, finch seed, and black oil sunflower seed for many species.
- Perches - butterfly bushes, fencing, corn stalks, sunflower stalks, tree stumps planted in the JBP.
- At least a dozen places for water are set up, since bathing is so important for preening.
- Late producing plants are grown for birds, such as beautyberry (late fruiting).
- Every wood mulched area is considered a large bird-feeder, since wood mulch feeds so many birds the insects and earthworms they love. Robins are regulars around our leaf and wood mulched bushes.