Bringing nature home in February: feeding birds, sowing seeds, reading books, and more!

Bringing nature home in February: feeding birds, sowing seeds, reading books, and more!

Add value to your winter landscape with native plants: With the recent snow storms across Maine, backyard birders may have noticed an increase in activity at their feeders. However, many concerned birders have reported declining numbers at their feeders this winter. do not worry! The main reason birds are few at feeders is because there is an abundance of their favorite food…native plants!

If you look at the limbs of pine trees recently (Maine’s state tree), you will notice that many of them are drooping due to the weight of their cones. Pine cones are an important food source for a variety of birds in Maine including grosbeaks, grosbeaks, woodpeckers, and nuthatches. Many birds will feed on the seeds of a variety of plants including grasses such as asters, goldenrods, and grasses such as little bluestem.
Fruits are also an important food source in our winter landscape. Plants that bear fruit late in winter include Staghorn Sumac, Winterberry, Bayberry and Mountain Ash. It is truly a joy to see a flock of Cedar Waxwings descend upon the winter landscape in search of these fruits.

Seed planting workshop
Native seed propagation for growing wildflowers and other plants from seed, at a workshop at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center.

There’s still time to plant local seeds! If you’ve attended one of our seed sowing workshops, or read about winter dormancy and seed propagation, you’ll know that many of our native plants require cold stratification. Although it is too late for some varieties that require 90-day stratification, you can still sow seeds with 30- or 45-day cold stratification requirements, even as late as mid-February. This includes many of our most important keystone species such as milkweed, asters, and goldenrod.

The Sea Around Us by Rachel CarsonBringing Nature Home Book Club: The book club returns with four new books for 2024. We meet in person at the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth on the second Tuesday of every month.. Our pick for February is The sea around usWritten by Rachel Carson. In this award-winning book, Carson discusses topics such as ocean formation, tidal dynamics, the diversity of marine life, and the impact of human activities on the oceans. The sea around us It played an important role in raising awareness about the importance of preserving marine environments and is considered a landmark work in the field of marine biology and environmental literature. In the wake of the devastating coastal storms that have battered Maine over the past few months, the message of this book is more important than ever. Sign up for the book club here>

Conference Abstract: 35th Annual Design Symposium | Landscape, environment and culture
I had the pleasure of attending one of my favorite conferences earlier this month, hosted by New Directions in the American Landscape, at the Connecticut College Arboretum in New London, Connecticut. The conference attracts a diverse group of practitioners from all over New England from gardeners to landscape architects. NDAL was founded by landscape designer Larry Weiner, author of The Garden Revolution: How our landscapes can be a source of environmental change.

Each year the conference hosts a diverse group of thought leaders and practitioners involved in environmental practices. Topics from this year’s speakers included:

  • Endangered grasslands and savannas and their potential for recovery, Red Nose
  • Landscape Localization, Lauren Spears
  • Recycled Landscape, Apiary Studio
  • Biodiversity for the Masses: Ecological Gardening in the Anthropocene, Rebecca McMakin

This conference is a great opportunity to learn from and meet people who are doing amazing work in ways that always leave me feeling inspired and motivated to continue working on bringing nature back home.

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