Conifers are a good choice for backyard plantings as they provide year-round cover. Rocky Mountain juniper is a multitask selection. It’s incredibly hardy, offers cover for roosting and nesting birds and provides blue berries relished by birds all year long. (JIM WARD photo)
Spring in Northeast Oregon is when green thumbs begin to twitch. Gardeners cruise the aisles of local nurseries, start sprinkling seed here and there, dreaming of scrumptious salads, corn-on-the-cob and rhubarb pies to come. Many spend a good deal of time tilling, fertilizing and watering their gardens.
Some find time to plant for wildlife. It may be as simple as planting a few flowers for the local hummingbirds or leaving an unmowed and uncultivated patch in the corner of the yard for butterflies and seed-eating birds. You really don’t have to own a large ranch to help wild critters.
When I bought a little patch of land 35 years ago, between Foothill Road and the south fence of Ladd Marsh, there wasn’t a single bush or tree on this weed patch along that portion of Ladd Creek. Before the house was even built, I started planting thousands of trees. As a first-time “arborist” I made many mistakes before learning through considerable time, money and sweat. Many of the subjects I planted looked great in the nursery catalog, but weren’t suited for my climate or soil type. I planted some too close, and I didn’t allow for the browsing deer, gnawing gophers and the demanding watering requirements.
For the full story, see Friday's edition of The Observer
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