An ecological transformation in the works

We’ve lived here at Pokeberry Pines for four months now. We’ve spent much of that time creating food gardens and re-wilding our backyard and woods into a more diverse and sustainable ecosystem. When we arrived in April, the spring leaves of the deciduous trees were just greening up the place, and that vast backyard seemed big and empty.

The backyard in April

By June, we had built raised bed gardens, sheet mulch beds for future plantings and flowers, and started the pollinator garden around the fire ring in the middle of the backyard.

The backyard in June

Since June we have planted more shrubs and perennial wildflowers along the edges and in the beds. Now, as things bloom and grow, we are beginning to see the rewards of those efforts with dozens of species of butterflies, moths, bugs, birds, mollusks, and reptiles showing up to share this space with us and to be a part of this grand experiment.

The backyard in August

We are transforming this habitat, creating more food, water, and shelter for wild things, and increasing diversity of the former lawn by planting species that will provide vertical stratification as well – mid-story trees and shrubs, tall grasses and native flowers, shorter perennials and species that bloom at different times of the year. As we enter the fall planting season, we are so very grateful for the space to do this work and for the lessons that nature is teaching us every single day.

Our latest project involves solarizing the back section of lawn with plastic sheeting, then planting native grasses and wildflowers to replace the lawn (less mowing, more critters). We’ll do it in sections, and when we’re done, there will be another 2500 square feet of wildness for the birds and the bugs to enjoy!

The overall changes look small when viewed from our back deck, but up close there is a riot of color and greenery, busy critters, and amazing interactions taking place in the yarden.

6 comments

  1. The yard is looking great! I’ve actually been missing my little garden area…sitting on my brick patio sitting area, my butterflies. My yearning dissipates after I have a very painful fibromyalgia day or did too much at one time.
    When we finally get to visit, you must allow me to join you in some garden work. I will so look forward to it.

  2. The transformation in such a short time is incredible. For all the critters in your area, word is getting out that Pokeberry Pines is a 5-star resort and everyone has to get there ASAP! Keep up the great work and one of these days, I look forward to experiencing it myself.

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