Gardens for People, Birds & Bees: Summer Garden Tour 2017

The Bridgerland Audubon Society is not just for bird watchers – it’s all about conservation, education, and habitat enhancement, and the water-wise, pollinator-friendly gardens on this year’s tour provide food, water, and shelter needed by songbirds to raise their young, so it was a great year to partner with Cache Soil To Table to keep the tradition of a local garden tour going.

Each of the six gardens has unique and inspiring features from a dedicated native plants of Utah section to a front yard raised bed vegetable garden made from reclaimed materials and an old tree that had to be cut down.

The first garden is a bounty for butterflies, birds, and bees, as there’s not a blade of lawn – everything is a feast for our pollinators, and the home’s solar panels provides 100% of their electric needs. They have also used hydrozones, which means they have planned out their garden in a way to group plants with similar watering needs together so that they can enjoy a wide array of plants without having to water the entire garden heavily.

The second garden showcases welcoming whimsical yard art and stately mature trees that provide a very nice and shady entry. The third and fourth gardens have increased their fruit and vegetable yield by 50 – 100% since they began a beekeeping hobby which also yielded 20 gallons of honey from three hives last summer.

The fifth garden features an arbor with solar panels that provide 50% of their power, including charging their hybrid car. Thanks to careful water scheduling and drip-irrigation, the productive flower and vegetable garden uses 75% less water than when they moved in. The sixth garden features raised vegetable beds and a decorative gravel has replaced most of the thirsty and unproductive lawn.

As for the birds – you’ll surely hear them singing even if you don’t see them! The American Robin is often heard first thing in the morning and then seen searching for worms in the garden, and if you’re lucky you might see a Western Tanager dallying during its May migration to higher elevations.

The rippling water of a bird bath is a magnet for the Black Chinned and Broad Tailed Hummingbirds, Goldfinch – both American and Lesser, House finch, Black-headed Grossbeak and the stunning Lazuli bunting. You may also spot a Yellow Warbler hiding in the trees and shrubs, or even a Willow Flycatcher. Additional adorable birds include the Black Capped Chickadee and the Ruby Crowned Kinglet.

Beautiful Cedar waxwings are known to feast on the bright red berry clusters on the Hawthorn tree in the Fall, and you might catch the Rufous Hummingbird later in the summer, migrating back south.

In “How to Create a Wildlife-Friendly Yard” by Megan Dettenmaier and Michael Kuhns, You’ll find great tips and lists of native plants that help sustain butterflies, birds, and bees in our gardens. Click¬†HERE

As for the people – well, you’ll see them out and about enjoying their gardens, and you’ll notice there’s a place for them, too, such as the bench in the evergreen bark scented shade because gardens are a relaxing treat for all of our senses.

 

Special thanks to Scott Erickson for sharing his birding knowledge and beautiful photos [His Family Birding program at the Logan Library Wednesday, June 21, 7 Р8 p.m. promises to be a real treat!]

– Hilary Shughart, President, Bridgerland Audubon Society

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