Pat McGilley is a recycler and bargain hunter. Her backyard is full of ideas to use what you have. When a tree needs cut down or loses it limbs, it becomes an opportunity to enhance her garden.
With long branches boarding her flower beds or creating a fence out of twigs the yard is an artist’s work of art. She and her husband have enhanced the yard over the last 19 years. She has over 15 varieties of trees in her yard and countless species of flowers. One of Pat’s secrets is to buy on clearance, divide her plants, and swap with other people.
Pat likes to think of host plants when buying flowers and trees. Most butterflies require certain plants on which to lay their eggs. The Division of Wildlife publishes a booklet of Ohio butterflies, which includes information on each species host plant. We have a few in the Fayette SWCD office if you are interested in learning more.
Besides looking out for butterflies, Pat also enjoys feeding the birds and hummingbirds that visit her yard. Oranges on a plate that attaches to a window make a perfect way to view the hummingbirds up close and butterflies. Insects are also attracted, which also makes good bird food.
One philosophy that I have heard several times this summer is if you see dirt in your flower bed fill it with a plant. Pat also incorporates many other conservation practices including composting, native plantings, bat boxes, and a rain barrel just to name a few. Something is blooming all the time in the yard which helps the pollinators find food. Pat also rotates her garden crops in her raised beds to help with disease problems.
Lastly, Pat has participated in several citizen science projects including Hummingbirds at Home, Project Feeder Watch, and the Sunflower project. Be inspired!
Call for a conservation audit and share what you do. We can give you ideas for conservation practices. Contact Brigitte Hisey, Natural Resource Specialist, Fayette SWCD at 740-636-0279. Check us out on Facebook for more pictures of backyard projects.