2015 Gardening for Wildlife WORKSHOP SERIES

Every walk down your garden path is full of wonder: Cloudless Sulphur caterpillars on Partridge Pea

 

Hi Gang,

I had a ball leading tours of private butterfly gardens in South Texas in early November at the 2014 Texas Butterfly Festival.  Leaving Cape May when the butterfly season was coming to a close and heading to an area swimming in butterflies, including many exotic strays from Mexico, was a treat for this wildlife gardener.

 

Speaking of wildlife gardens
I can’t wait to once again teach
the series of 6 in-depth

“Gardening for Wildlife” Workshops (pdf)
on select Saturdays and Sundays
February 28 – March 28, 2015,

 the perfect time to shake off winter
and begin planning and planting
(or enhancing) your property and wildlife garden.

 

Every walk down your garden path is full of wonder: Monarch caterpillars on Common Milkweed

Learn to create gardens and habitats in little time, save money (by encouraging seed production rather than hampering it with traditional gardening practices), and see long-term results (by implementing wildlife-friendly garden practices rather than traditional wildlife death-trap practices).

Many (1000s) have taken these workshops, been empowered, and created habitats that have given them pleasure for years to come.  They know and I know that there is nothing more special than stepping out the door into a habitat that YOU created, a habitat that fills up with wildlife visitors galore: hummingbirds, butterflies, caterpillars, chrysalises, dragonflies, ladybugs, many different native bees, beetles and other fun pollinators, songbirds, frogs, turtles, moths at night, and more!  Every walk down your garden path is full of wonder, learning, delight, awe . . . almost like traveling to an exotic land, but that exotic place is your own back (or front) yard.  There is nothing more gratifying than knowing that you provide safe haven for all these creatures.

Consider joining me for one, two, three, or all six of these workshops (discounted fees when you sign up for any 3 workshops).  Native plants and wildlife-friendly practices are the key and will be emphasized and detailed throughout.

I present a zillion one- to two-hour programs each year and maybe you’ve attended a few of these. I love teaching them, but (with only one or two hours) they are more one-sided presentations, me sharing fun natural history information and images with you, the audience.

These workshops offer the opportunity to be far more in-depth and interactive and are more likely to empower you, take you to the next level.

The 5-hour format (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) allows for:

  • an interactive workshop atmosphere
  • each workshop covers a unique aspect of wildlife gardening (in-depth)
  • each workshop builds on the others, but is not repetitive (so you’ll want to try and attend all 6 to maximize your learning opportunity)
  • resources (handouts and circulated books) will be shared and showcased
  • you’ll learn how to utilize these resources (find answers to burning questions you may have)
  • time for in-depth questions
  • time for in-depth answers
  • during a working lunch we’ll brainstorm (as a group) each participant’s specific challenges (you’ll draw a rough sketch of your yard and submit a photo of your sketch that I’ll  project so we can all see it for this brainstorming)
  • time to get to know one another and learn from each other (of garden triumphs and tribulations, successes and pitfalls). Nothing beats collective experience and roundtable discussion
  • each workshop will culminate in a site visit to a nearby backyard habitat (including my own and others) where wildlife-friendly practices and design and plant selections will be showcased
Eleanor Engel in her six-year-old meadow

So, what do you say! Will I see you in late February & March?

Take advantage of the discount by signing up for any 3 of the workshops.  Sign up today and begin getting ready for the workshops. Draw a rough sketch of your yard, indicating structures (and hardscapes like driveways, decks, etc.), existing habitats (lawn, forest, lone trees, shrub islands, gardens, bird feeding station, brush pile, etc.), and mark NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST on the sketch. Take time to note the sun’s path through your yard and where the sunniest areas are. Begin making a wish list of the elements you want to add as well as the elements you need to work around.

****************************************************************************************************

2015 GARDENING FOR WILDLIFE WORKSHOPS

with Pat Sutton (pdf)

for NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May
1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204 (609-898-8848)

  1. Saturday, February 28 – How to Create a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife
  2. Sunday, March 1 – How to Create a Wildflower Meadow (from small “Pocket Meadow” up to sizable meadows)
  3. Saturday, March 7 – How to Create a Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden (to benefit all pollinators: moths, bees, & more)
  4. Sunday, March 8 – Battlestar Backyardia – Battling the Alien Invaders (How to Recognize and Deal With Invasive Species)
  5. Saturday, March 21 — How to Create a No-Fuss Wildlife Pond
  6. Saturday, March 28 – Landscape Design With Wildlife In Mind
Common Green Darner laying eggs in Sutton’s wildlife pond

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm.

Where: Please note that the 6 workshops in this series will be held at the Cape May Bird Observatory Center for Research & Education, 600 Rt. 47 N, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210 and not at the Nature Center of Cape May in Cape May.

Limit: 20 participants;  preregistration required  (through NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May, 1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204; 609-898-8848 — if you reach their message machine, do leave a message . . . they’ll get back to you).

Cost/workshop (includes handouts):
$35 member of NJ Audubon Society, $45 nonmember
Sign up for any 3 workshops for a discount:
$75 member (or $25 each); $105 nonmember (or $35 each)
All workshops include a site visit to a nearby wildlife garden (Sutton’s garden and others).

********************************************************************************************************

2014 Gardening for Wildlife WORKSHOP SERIES

Josh GDN w-sig
Josh Nemeth in his 2-year old garden, dripping with Tiger Swallowtails (7-21-13)

Hi Gang,

It’s been a wild, cold, and snowy winter.  I’ve been enjoying all the birds that are finding refuge in our wildlife garden.  Our heated birdbath has attracted 100s of birds this frozen winter, including a normally very secretive Hermit Thrush and a quite uncommon wintering bird, a Gray Catbird.

Speaking of wildlife gardens, I can’t wait to once again teach the series of 6 in-depth “Gardening for Wildlife” Workshops (pdf), on Saturdays (February 8 – March 29, 2014), the perfect time to shake off winter and begin planning and planting (or enhancing) your property and wildlife garden.

Mildred Morgan GDNw-sigMany (1000s) have taken these workshops, been empowered, and created habitats that have given them pleasure for years to come.

They know and I know that there is nothing like stepping out the door into a magical wonderland that you yourself created, full of hummingbirds buzzing about,butterflies dancing from flower to flower, Monarch caterpillars hiding under Milkweed leaves, hungry songbirds dropping in during migration for a hearty caterpillar meal,dragonflies galore, more frogs than you realized lived in your area (perched on every last lily pad in your pond).  There is nothing more gratifying than realizing that you have truly provided safe haven for all these creatures

humm-perched-w-sig.jpgConsider joining me for one, two, or all six of these workshops.  Native plants and wildlife-friendly practices are the key and will be emphasized and detailed throughout.

I present a zillion one- to two-hour programs each year and maybe you’ve attended a few of these. I love teaching them, but (with only one or two hours) they are more one-sided presentations, me sharing fun natural history information and images with you, the audience.

These workshops offer the opportunity to be far more in-depth and interactive and are more likely to empower you, take you to the next level.

The 5-hour format (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) allows for:

  • an interactive workshop atmosphere
  • each workshop covers a unique aspect of wildlife gardening (in-depth)
  • each workshop builds on the others, but is not repetitive (so you’ll want to try and attend all 6 to maximize your learning opportunity)
  • resources (handouts and circulated books) will be shared and showcased
  • you’ll learn how to utilize these resources (find answers to burning questions you may have)
  • time for in-depth questions
  • time for in-depth answers
  • during a working lunch we’ll brainstorm (as a group) each participant’s specific challenges (you’ll draw a rough sketch of your yard and submit a photo of your sketch that I’ll  project so we can all see it for this brainstorming)
  • time to get to know one another and learn from each other (of garden triumphs and tribulations, successes and pitfalls). Nothing beats collective experience and roundtable discussion
  • each workshop will culminate in a site visit to a nearby backyard habitat where wildlife-friendly practices and design and plant selections will be showcased

Eleanor & Gordon GDN-2-w-sigSo, what do you say! Will I see you in February & March?

Sign up today and begin getting ready for the workshops. Draw a rough sketch of your yard, indicating structures (and hardscapes like driveways, decks, etc.), existing habitats (lawn, forest, lone trees, shrub islands, gardens, bird feeding station, brush pile, etc.), and mark NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST on the sketch. Take time to note the sun’s path through your yard and where the sunniest areas are. Bring a wish list of the elements you want to add as well as the elements you need to work around.

****************************************************************************************************

2014 GARDENING FOR WILDLIFE WORKSHOPS

with Pat Sutton (pdf)

for NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May
1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204 (609-898-8848)

  1. Saturday, February 8 – How to Create a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife
  2. Saturday, February 22 – How to Create a Pollinator Garden (for Butterflies, Hummingbirds, Moths, Bees, & More)
  3. Saturday, March 1 – How to Create a Wildflower Meadow
  4. Saturday, March 8How to Create a No-Fuss Wildlife Pond
  5. Saturday, March 22 – Battlestar Backyardia – Battling the Alien Invaders (How to Recognize and Deal With Invasive Species)
  6. Saturday, March 29 – Landscape Design With Wildlife In Mind

edit-edit-Leopard Frogs in Sutton Pond 8-1-10-byPSutton-processed by Kevin KarlsonTime: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm.

Where: Please note that the 6 workshops in this series will be held at the Cape May Bird Observatory Center for Research & Education, 600 Rt. 47 N, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210 (and include a site visit to Sutton’s nearby wildlife gardens) and not at the Nature Center of Cape May in Cape May.

Limit: 20 participants; preregistration is required (through NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May, 1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204; 609-898-8848 — if you reach their message machine, do leave a message . . . they’ll get back to you).

Cost/workshop: $35 member of NJ Audubon Society, $45 nonmember (includes handouts).
As of 2-13-14, sign up for last five workshops for a DISCOUNT:
Members: $150 ($30/workshop) and 20% off in the gift shop
Non-Members: $200 ($40/workshop) and 20% off in the gift shop
********************************************************************************************************

Hummingbird Garden Tours

Ruby-thHumm on ornament-w-sigHi Gang,

Hummingbird activity has exploded in our garden. Young are off the nest & flying about. Birds from the north are on the move south through our area. Females are busy with their 2nd (or maybe even 3rd) nest. Territorial males are busy, busy, busy as they dash about chasing several hummingbirds away from each of the five feeders we’ve hung and their favorite flowers. It’s quite a show. Makes your head spin.

Ruby-th Humm on Cardinal Flower by Pat Sutton
Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Cardinal Flower

With the heat this summer we’ve been cleaning out the feeders and refilling every few days with fresh solution. In our garden they’re also feeding on Cardinal Flower (which is in full bloom), many different salvias (Black and Blue, Blue Ensign, Texas Sage, Salvia Indigo Spires, Belize Sage, and others), Cannas, the 2nd bloom of Bee Balm, Cuphea David verity, Orange Cuphea, Mexican Sunflowers, Trumpet Creeper, and some still-blooming Coral Honeysuckle. Insects are plentiful in the garden and an abundance of fruit flies over my dish of gooey fruit for the butterflies also attracts the hummingbirds and keeps their diet rich in protein.

Can’t wait to share it all with you during the next set of “Tours of Private Wildlife Gardens,” August 12, 13, & 14 — this time focusing on “Hummingbird Gardens.” My garden will be on the August 12 (Friday) “North: Goshen to Dennisville” tour.

Tours of Private HUMMINGBIRD Gardens

Friday, August 12: NORTH “Goshen to Dennisville”

Saturday, August 13: SOUTH “Cape Island”

Sunday, August 14: MID-COUNTY “North Cape May to Rio Grande”

10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

At the peak of Ruby-throated Hummingbird migration, we’ll savor an array of diverse gardens that have hosted nesting hummingbirds since May and are now drawing in dozens of migrants. Native nectar plants, healthy insect populations, water sources, and adequate cover are key elements of each garden.

TOUR DETAILS AND PRICING

Limit: 25 per tour. Nine Tours in 2011 / Cost per tour: $30 members (NJ Audubon), $40 nonmembers.  (Join three tours at a discounted rate of $75 members, $100 nonmembers.)  These tours require preregistration with payment.  You may register by phone at 609.898.8848 with a credit card or send payment to the Nature Center of Cape May, 1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204 (noting which tours and full names of registrants).

This is the 20th year I’ve been leading these tours of private backyard wildlife gardens. Yowee! In September (23, 24, & 25) we’ll be focusing on Monarch Butterfly Gardens!

Ruby-thHummingbird-at SalviaIndigoSpires-SuttonGDN-8-3-10(001)-w-sig
Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Salvia Indigo Spires

These wildlife-friendly gardens offer so many ideas in the way of design, use of space, plant combinations, native plants that are lovely AND beneficial to wildlife, “chocolate cake” nectar plants, key caterpillar plants, great shrub ideas, “how to” create your own meadow ideas, garden accents and features like misters, dragonfly ponds, arbors . . .

Imagine getting a glimpse into private backyard wildlife gardens, interacting with the artists who created them, having each and every garden and wildlife question answered, and enjoying it with a group of fellow wildlife gardeners.

Hope to see some of you there !

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

T H E Y ‘ R E   B A C K  !

Ruby-thHumm(male)-4-18-09-on feeder

Hi Gardening Gang,

Thel Brown wrote to let me know that she had a Ruby-throated Hummingbird visit her West Deptford garden yesterday (Saturday, April 2) in Gloucester County, NJ (up near the Delaware River).

Don’t know about you, but I worked feverishly last night to get ready for them in my own yard. I boiled up a quart of solution (1 cup sugar & 4 cups of water), let it cool down in the refrigerator, and this morning filled and hung 4 feeders, hither & yon. I stored the extra solution in my refrigerator. This time of year you don’t need to fill your feeders, since activity is minimal (1 territorial male and maybe 1 female a week or so later, if you’re lucky). I only put 2 ounces in each feeder & will empty them, clean them thoroughly, & refill with 2 ounces of fresh solution once a week (unless the weather turns HOT & then clean & refill more frequently. I don’t fill the feeders with 4 ounces each until activity picks up in late June (when the first batch of young are “on the wing”).

Our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have spent the winter in southern Mexico (and as far south as Costa Rica). They arrived in the U.S. in late February and have been moving north, keeping pace with the opening of their favorite flowers.

So far all my garden has to offer is the first few flowers on my Flowering Quince shrubs and budding Red Maple trees. My Coral Honeysuckle vine recently leafed out, but I don’t even see buds yet. SO feeders are crucial now to newly arrived hummers.

Keep track of their movements by following this terrific website Hummingbirds.net

I’m looking forward to teaching a program all about Ruby-throated Hummingbirds for NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May on April 16 (Saturday). Consider joining me! The more you know about these winged jewels, the better your chances are of attracting hummingbirds to your own garden & holding on to them by knowing and practicing wildlife-friendly gardening. Details follow:

Ruby-th Humm on Cardinal Flower by Pat SuttonApril 16 (Saturdays) — 1 to 3 pm

“Hummingbirds 101 — All About Ruby-throated Hummingbirds & How to Attract Them — with Pat Sutton”

at NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May, 1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204 (609-898-8848)

Get ready, get set, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are coming. Where have they been all winter? In the Tropics! Why leave a tropical area to return to New Jersey? Will more than one settle into a backyard garden? Where is the nest? What does the female use to build her tiny nest? Do I need to buy bottled nectar for my feeder? Is red dye needed in feeders? Did you know that hummingbirds like spiders (for at least two reasons)? Even if you think you know everything about these winged jewels, expect to be surprised by what you learn during this presentation by Pat Sutton, naturalist and wildlife gardener. She will show you an a actual hummingbird nest and will share essential tips on how to ready your yard so that you can be entertained by a blizzard of hummingbirds for the next five months. Before this program, download, print, and read the NJ Audubon articles by Pat Sutton: “How to Create a Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden” & “Recommended Plantings to Attract Hummingbirds, Butterflies, and Moths.”

Limit: 30 participants; preregistration is required. Cost: $15 member of NJ Audubon Society, $20 nonmember (includes handouts).

Take advantage of the following great opportunities to add additional hummingbird nectar plants to your garden:

April 30 (Saturday) — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Backyard Habitat Plant Swap

at NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May

1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204 (609-898-8848)

This year’s theme is caterpillar host plants! Now is the perfect time to thin out the perennial garden and share some of your garden success with others. Admission to the swap is one plant and a new or used garden tool. The new or used garden tool is your “shower gift” to help the nature center stock up on equipment to use in educational gardening programs. For your admission, you will be entitled to take one “swap plant” home with you. Bring additional plants to swap on a 1:1 ratio. Plants may be dropped off on Friday, April 29th, and you will be given a credit voucher to use on your return on Saturday. Please check out our Web site for a list of caterpillar host plants at NJ Audubon’s website. Admission: One plant and one new or used garden tool.

May 6-7 (Friday-Saturday)

Native Plant Sale & Native Plant Swap at the

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Jersey Shore

in Pomona, NJ (Atlantic Co)

organized by fellow wildlife gardener Jesse Connor. Lots of excellent hard-to-find natives will be available, including Black Cherry and Red Cedar trees (in the plant swap). Even if you live outside of Atlantic County, it will be worth the drive. April 1st was the deadline for orders for the Plant Sale (but Jesse may have ordered a few extras of certain goodies). To learn full details about the Plant Sale and the Plant Swap download all 4 documents at the UUCSJS website under the header — UUCSJS Annual Native Plant Swap & Sale.

May 21-22 (Saturday & Sunday) — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

ORDER BY April 30th for pick up May 21 & 22

10th Annual Plant Sale (for Wildlife Gardens)

at NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May

1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204 (609-898-8848)

Your gardens will be the buzz, tweet and talk of the neighborhood when you get off to a good start with top-quality plants. We emphasize the use of New Jersey native plants, which benefit wildlife and have a strong ornamental appeal for the backyard landscape. Some non-native (but non-invasive) perennials and annuals, which offer an added boost to butterfly gardens, will also be available. For an order form, call the nature center at 609.898.8848 or go to the NCCM’s 10th Annual Plant Sale Order Form.

HAPPY SPRING & HAPPY GARDENING,

Pat

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds Have Arrived in the US

Hi Gang,

I’ll bet you’re as eager as I am for spring. Well, it is happening. Heard a Wood Frog calling from one of our Dragonfly Ponds in yesterday’s rain.

Our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have spent the winter in southern Mexico south to Costa Rica. They’ve begun their migration north and have been arriving along the Gulf Coast this past week. They’ll continue moving north, keeping pace with the opening of their favorite flowers. By late March and early April they near NJ, often settling in by mid-April.

Keep track of their movements here.

Happy Spring!