[Wren Song] 085 Happy New Year!

Snakes often suffer the wound of direct killing

Like a snake shedding its skin, we look forward to shedding the old to welcome new possibilities!

Welcome to Wren Song

Volume 85

Whew! I don’t know about you, but I am happy to see this year come to an end, and am looking forward to new possibilities in the coming year.

Personally, I struggled to overcome the sadness of losing my mom, had some personal challenges, and some family drama mixed in. We’ve seen devastating fires, droughts, floods, hurricanes, and mass tragedies in which way too many people have lost so much.

I’m ready to turn the page! How about you?

To get us ready to create more welcoming habitat for wildlife in the coming year, our teams have a wonderful collection of articles for you. From New Years Resolutions, to wildlife garden planning, to beautiful reflections on the year that was, we’ve definitely got something to spark your interest.

May the coming year be filled with peace and beauty!

Happy New Year from all of us at Team Beautiful Wildlife Garden and Team Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens from our family to yours!

Have you checked out the 53 books written by our team members?

Check out my new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week, teaching you to garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat for wildlife in your garden.

What’s New In the Wildlife Garden?

Snow WrenThe Holiday Wildlife Garden

It’s that time of year when holiday preparations are well under way, but don’t forget your wildlife garden (and your wildlife gardener friends) during this time! This year I’m being a Hobbit for wildlife for the holidays, by giving something back to wildlife and some amazing local organizations dedicated to protecting habitat and making a better place for our feathered, furred, and winged friends. A gift in your loved ones name to one of these organizations is a wonderful way to share the love… ~Carole Sevilla Brown

Toad AbodeThe Monday After

Dear all, like many of us, I am still trying to make sense of the horror of what happened on Friday in Newtown, Ct. Although I  feel a certain despair that our society has now reached a point of no return, I have to believe strongly in one thing. Children deserve to live in safety in a nurturing environment that cares for their future. How can we get back to that place? ~Ellen Sousa

Leucothoe leaves in iceWinter Resolutions in the Wildlife Garden

Winter is one of my favorite seasons in the garden. The garden has been put to bed and about all I can do is sit back and enjoy my garden. I spend a lot of time during the winter observing my garden and reflecting on what worked and what didn’t. Winter is for planning and making some resolutions for what you’re going to do next season in your habitat garden…. ~Debbie Roberts

Cardinal Autumn LeavesHoliday Hobbit for Wildlife

Hobbits like to give others gifts on their birthdays, and since today is my birthday I want to give something back to wildlife. The Holiday season is often about buying STUFF to give to our friends and loved ones, but what if we gave something meaningful to those we loved that also had an immediate benefit for wildlife and our environment? ~Carole Sevilla Brown

Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus)A Bestiary: Hawks

As chill settles in on this first day of winter, more anecdotal beastly tales unfold in my latest installment of ‘A Bestiary.’  Chance encounters with wildlife always strike me as quite remarkable . . . just being in the right place at the right moment and being in that moment is a gift of possibility and intention. Observing birds successfully demands our tuning into their world and knowing the sights and sounds to be aware of…. ~Carol Duke

Juniperus virginianaChristmas in Dixie

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, evergreen plants and decorations in the home and the landscape are a welcome sight in the South.  Evergreen trees and bright berries form the basis of these decorations, a delight to both humans and wildlife. Wildlife enjoy them in the garden, of course, using the plants for shelter and the berries for food…. ~Ellen Honeycutt

Winterberry holly provides great benefits to birds, and brightens up the winter garden.What Native Plants Like Clay Soil?

It seems that conversations with gardeners, if they go on long enough, will turn to the topic of clay soils:  how difficult they are, how to fix them, or how to live with them. Native plants are true multi-tasking tools in the landscape:  they reduce pollution, provide habitat for wildlife, and supply gardeners deal with solutions for difficult site conditions – including clay soil…. ~Vincent Vizachero

Why buy Exotics? Native Plants are beautiful!Hello? Can We Still Garden?

If you are reading this, I guess the end of the world hasn’t taken place or, if any of the other doomsday theories has occurred, that BWG Blog has been translated into Nibiru-ese.  I’m not a big believer in these sort of silly conspiracies, but let’s just say I held off doing the winter mow of the meadow! If today seems short and tonight seems long, well…hello, northern hemispherian. We made it to mid-winter. We are now moving toward seeing the light…at least more of it each day, as daylight increases and darkness decreases…. ~ Loret T. Setters

L1070981Meet-Up At a Native Meadow

One more time, I think to myself, one last walk to see some blooming flowers before the year stretches inevitably to its conclusion and color vanishes from the fields until spring. It is late in November, but I know where some asters, a group well-known for their persistence, are likely to still be in flower. Fortunately, the meadow was indeed sporting asters, pale blue drifts amid a brown tapestry of grasses crowned with graceful seedheads.  And I was not the only one who had come seeking them out! ~Suzanne Dingwell

firstdayThe 12 Days of (Wildlife Gardening) Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… …a replacement for a Bradford pear tree! On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… …two mourning doves! On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… …three moorhens! On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…..Check out these wonderful illustrations by Ursula Vernon

Invasive mustard plants cover the summer hillsides.Native Garden Design: Misnomers and Plant Selection  

I am asked many questions as a designer of native gardens, some more often than others. Today I thought I would take time to address two such query’s that  frequently come up; those of misnomers and plant selection. One doesn’t necessarily correspond directly with the other, but both are important to understand. One of the main challenges we have to overcome is the common (and understandable) misconceptions that have been perpetuated by a mindset that exemplifies our society’s “import” mentality…. ~Rob Moore

A few inches of powdery snow glistens on Christmas Day.Christmas Among the Ponderosas

Today is Christmas and it is beautiful in the Ponderosa Pine forest where I live. We were lucky enough to get a few inches of snow overnight to make it a truly White Christmas. I thought that it would only be right to share my wildlife garden christmas gifts with you….~ Kathy Green


DSCN2664An Evergreen State of Mind

I’ve been in a very evergreen state of mind of late. It must be the season, in my northern temperate world of Toronto replete with denuded trees, save for the evergreens. Even then, the bright greens of the growing season have given way to the drabber blush or bronzy hues of foliage in dormancy. Yet, we still cling to the romantic notion of the pioneer days of a cold winter with pure white flakes of snow coating the ground…. ~Janet Harrison

Overwintering Monarchs, Pismo Beach, CA, Photo by Kathy VilimMonarchs in the Wintertime

Walking through the tall stands of Eucalyptus trees (Monarch Grove, Pismo Beach), I came upon a Monarch butterfly lying on the ground on some wood chips. He blended in so well, I could easily have stepped on him!  But he wasn’t moving. Very carefully, I picked him up and placed him on the side of a Eucalyptus tree. He clung to the bark there, his wings pulled together for warmth.  Meantime, I saw another Monarch on the ground; this one was very large and in beautiful shape…. ~Kathy Villim

xylotekaThe Strahov Monastery Dendrological Library

The beautiful Strahov Monastery, which sits on a hill overlooking the city of Prague, was one of my favorite stops when I visited a couple of years ago. While the two ornate libraries are the main attractions there is a single bookcase which contains some fascinating books for plant-lovers and the curious. The books look like ordinary books at first glance, but upon closer inspection you  will discover that they’re made out of the tree, that’s not to say processed paper, but the actual tree in it’s original form…. ~Kelly Brenner

satyrVentralDec20122012 in My Biodiverse Wildlife Garden

In 2010 and 2011 as my last post for the year I have shown a critter or plant that was a special encounter or a photographic moment for each month of the year at my place.  Once again I will keep with tradition and do the same.  May I present to you, Two-thousand and twelve. Here is looking forward to 2013 being the most biodiverse year in all your gardens.  Happy New Year! ~Loret T. Setters

Protect Native Plants With Education

Unfortunately many native plant populations are under daily survival pressure from development activities, a healthy horticultural industry of exotic and landscape plants and the herbicide business. Even with focused preservation efforts of groups like Native Plant Societies, The Nature Conservancy and other organizations, species of endemic plants are rapidly diminishing  in numbers and geographic areas. Unfortunately extinction brings permanent loss of that we need the most and little realize why…. ~Kevin Songer

A Case of the Shoulds

“Evergreens,” I mutter to myself. “Next year, more evergreens.” Then I jot that down on a note. Florida anise tree would probably be good—it’s native and tough and takes shade and seems to like my garden. Then I think for a minute and spend some time dithering over whether some foxglove would really be that bad—sure, it’s non-native, but it’s so painfully gorgeous and I have a spot—probably that’s a spot—and what if I someday find myself in a mystery novel and need to poison someone’s tea? Eventually I write “FOXGLOVE???” on the note. Then I underline it. Then I lose the note….. ~Ursula Vernon

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