I met Jana on one of the many rainy days in July. The Deeks have been adding to their yard for 25 years. Jana has a nice mix of native and non native species. Coneflowers are mixed in with other plants like mint, lavender and lilac bushes which attract bees. Bushes are planted and add height and a place for birds to perch as they go back and forth to a feeder. Three bird baths, feeders, and bird houses on plant hangers also dot the yard. Natural stones are used for borders for beds and a pond. The pond has served as a place for a duck and even a heron. Fish cut outs that the grandchildren and friends painted are stuck in and around the pond.
Mr. Deeks has a garden that he mulches with straw. Mulching the garden helps the garden hold moisture, shades out weeds, and breaks down into nutrients for the soil. He uses his fence around the garden to grow pole beans.
One of the practices we promote is to pick up pet waste. Though it is something we don’t want to talk about, it is an important conservation practice. Dog waste can host bacteria like E. Coli and Salmonella. It also disintegrates and contributes to local water pollution as it washes into storm drains. Jana is very vigilant about removing waste from her yard.
Lastly, understory trees like dogwood and red bud grow in the yard. Both are great native understory trees. The Deeks have also pulled the invasive honeysuckle bush that creeps into their yard. Keeping it out of your yard helps it not spread to your neighbors. Bush honeysuckle has created problems in woods across Ohio. It shades out other species of trees and understory plants.
If you have woods we can help you come up with a plan to deal with invasive species. For more pictures of the Deeks’ backyard, visit our Facebook page, Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District. Be inspired!