Seattle Life in the Yard

Sustain biodiversity: garden with native plants.

Life in the Yard

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Life in the Yard is the lity at the end of Seattle hence seattlelity. I really love this yard I get to live in; it is as though we live in a tiny piece of Northwest forest. I can look out any window and see big red-cedars or native shrubs or both.
Each morning when I fetch the newspaper and breath in the fresh smells of this tiny forest, I hear birds of different species in addition to our resident family of crows – robins, flickers, song sparrows, chickadees and many I am unable to identify. The resident Eastern gray squirrels make little chirpy sounds too and they are really busy this time of year with chasing and mating and nesting; they are quite the entertainment for me and our adopted dog, Cody.
This wasn’t really a tiny forest when we bought this property and moved here in the summer of 1992. I have developed my knowledge about managing this yard and the things that grow here by submitting to the overwhelming presence of these amazing red-cedar trees. The things that were planted here were the standard popular alien landscaping plants and invasive alien volunteers, some of which had formed impenetrable thickets. There was a lawn here when we moved here but over time I realized how pointless it was to maintain a garden style so alien to our climate, ecology and the gifts that these trees give to this tiny footprint of forest floor. The added plus was that we got rid of the lawn mower and the annoying chore of weekly lawn mowing – ugh!
I have found amazing, delightful native plants that simply love to share this tiny forest with these big trees and the work required to maintain the yard is minimal and simple compared to what we used to do. I have gotten many wonderful plants from the excellent annual Snohomish Conservation District bare root native plant sale and from, my favorite native plant nursery, Tadpole Haven, which has occasional open house days to sell to the public. Tadpole Haven, recently got a big media plug from Cisco Morris and I was so thrilled to see them get that special attention because they provide such an important service of making good quality native plants available for ecosystem gardeners. The Washington Native Plant Society should be having their spring sale fund raiser soon, in early May, with details on their website.
The transition of this yard to a tiny piece of Northwest forest has given so much to the life in this yard.

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