Gardening Tips & information
Book Review by chris kelly
The Man Who Planted Trees: A Story of Lost Groves, the Science of Trees, and a Plan to Save the Planet, by Jim Robbins, is a spellbinding read for anyone enthralled with trees. The story is about David Michigan, a man who transformed from hard living to become a nurseryman is a complete circle of how we all can be reborn to new chapters of our lives at anytime. After a near-death experience David receives a message from the angels to save the planet by cloning thousands of the worlds tallest and most massive tree specimens, some of which are on the verge of becoming extinct. He calls them "champion" trees. These trees, we learn, are part of history and exhibit sheer majesty in their adaptability and endurance. Trees have so many uses: they help maintain the atmosphere - even the biosphere! They aid in climate control as a buffer to even out temperatures. They filter our water and clean our air. This book explores forests as complex systems and their impact on humans and the environment.
The author, Jim Robbins has a background as a science journalist but he is able to write keeping one foot in the spiritual world as well. Mixing the metaphysical with science is beneficial for any gardener to incorporate. This is a book is worth sharing before it is too late. I found it refreshing to read about potential solutions to some of the devastating problems we face.
Jim Robbins is a frequent contributor to the science section of the New York Times. He has written for Vanity Fair, Sunday Times, Scientific American, Discover, Psychology Today and numerous other magazines. He lives in 20 acres of woods in Helena, Montana.
I bought this book form Banyen Books on West 4th Avenue in Vancouver but it can be ordered from Tailwind Books in Sechelt or borrowed from the local library. Publisher Profile Books Limited, 2013
ISBN 1781250626, 9781781250624
Length 217 pages
a bird friendly garden
Autumn is a fascinating time for bird-watchers in our region. A wide variety of resident and over-wintering birds are regularly observed in Metro Vancouver throughout fall and winter. At places like Boundary Bay Regional Park and other seashore locations, immense numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds stop over on their way south. One thing is common to them all. They need food to survive the winter.
With just a few simple steps you can help all those species survive the winter, or fuel their journeys to warmer locales. Here's how to make your yard or green space a welcoming place for our feathered friends.
FOOD Birds may seem to love bread crusts and leftover buns, but these kinds of foods aren't healthy for them. Instead, sunflower seeds, millet, Peanuts, niger seed, suet, and hulled sunflower seeds are examples of suitable choices with plenty of fat content to help them survive the cold of winter. It's also important to keep the feeder clean to avoid the spread of diseases and make sure the feeder location is situated so that cats and other predators can't make a meal of visiting birds. Hummingbird feeders with a sugar water solution are also a good idea over the winter, helping our local Anna's hummingbirds weather the cold season.
Our natural environment shouldn't be overlooked. Leave some seedheads and old berries on the plants in your yard and don't be too tidy with that fall cleanup. A diverse garden habitat along with some leafy debris and plant material on the ground provides nourishment for insects, which in turn can feed birds. To help you find the right choices for your yard, the Grow Green Guide offers over 40 plants that support birds.
SHELTER A mix of shrubs, trees, and vegetation is best for providing habitat, but nest boxes are another solution. Be sure to space them at least 20 metres apart if you plan on having more than one and put them on isolated trees or poles, to reduce predation. Don’t forget to clean it after breeding season and before winter, when it may be used for shelter, to reduce the risk of diseases being transmitted. Snags (dead trees) and downed wood also provide food, nesting, and perching locations. Consider leaving them up if it’s safe to do so.
WATER While there is generally plenty of water in Metro Vancouver during the fall and winter, a small dish of water near your bird feeder location is a good idea. Keep it fresh and refill regularly, especially once the temperature drops and liquid water is harder for wild animals to find. As with feeders, location is important. Make sure your water supply isn't in a place where predators could make a meal of a thirsty bird.
A bird-friendly green space is a great way to support wildlife that doesn't take a lot of work. For even more tips and techniques to make your yard welcoming for winged creatures visit Grow Green's resource page http://www.growgreenguide.ca/resources/gardening-tips and look for the 'Creating Habitat for Birds and Pollinators' section.