Sunday, August 12, 2012

Take a walk on my wild side!

I am delighted to report that some of the wildness I've been missing has returned to the Crooked Little House. Though late in the season, my spiders, leaf footed bugs, grasshoppers and butterflies, along with other crawling and flying beings, have come home. So I thought it might be fun to show you what keeps my backyard wild.

I relocated to the Outer Banks in 1995 from New England, bringing only those possessions that were near and dear to my heart like huge quartz boulders and a favorite river rock to sit on and remember the home I'd left behind. These natural objects were the bridge, helping me to adjust to a new environment. Slowly I began to plant bushes, trees and flowers that would encourage wildlife to make their home in my backyard. I also felt it necessary to not only provide a habitat but food sources as well to combat the dwindling wild land as a result of overdevelopment. (FYI : I did not build another structure; I purchased a small existing house built over 20 years ago.)

I've seen a lot of changes since I moved in. The family of foxes that used to live in my hedgerow has had to relocate when the lot behind was leveled of all things green to put up a new house. The new neighbors to the west removed all traces of plants in their backyard destroying box turtles and rabbit dens. And the town continues to pump poison into the air in an effort to control mosquitoes when all we really need is a balanced habitat and a little effort on our part to get rid of standing water.

A ligustrum shrub sits near my front door, drawing all things winged. It flowers for a brief three weeks or so in late spring and catbirds arrive each night at precisely 8:30 to catch the tiny moths that live in the foliage. My trumpet vine spirals throughout the lattice on top of my pergola inviting bumble bees to crawl inside the blooms where they can be heard chattering to themselves or to the hummingbirds waiting to get their fill. My huge rosemary bush hosts egg cases from the Carolina mantis, and of course the honeybees are frequent visitors. Other plants I have in my yard that appeal to the birds and bees are holly, American Beauty Berry, mimosa, chokeberry, honeysuckle, moonflower vine, blanket flowers and more. Some of these are not native I'm sorry to say but were here when I landed.

 I also provide numerous sources of water, a bumble bee house, stacked logs for various critters to call home, many bird houses, roosting boxes for cold weather shelter, and lots of feeders for when food is scarce.  Luckily I have wonderful brother in Massachusetts who is very willing to construct all the wooden items I require or want.

Now that Mother Nature's children are well fed, watered and sheltered, I needed to create a little "wildness" just for me. Cupids hang from my ligustrum and perch beneath the pergola, and an old trumpet plays quietly, tucked into the base of, you guessed it, the trumpet vine. A woman's wire torso hides amidst the lilies and daisies, and cobalt blue wine bottles emerge from the earth catching afternoon sunlight. Peeking out from spots around my garden are unexpected surprises keeping a sense of fantasy in my often too-real world. My wild backyard is where I gather strength and reconnect with the earth. Next year I think I'll add a small pond to go along with a moon garden.

 "Come out of your warm, angular, house, resounding with few voices, into the chill, grand, instantaneous night, with such a Presence as a full moon in the clouds, and you are struck with poetic wonder."

                          - Emerson


  1. Your sketches are so lovely, and your garden sounds heavenly! Your descriptions are so vivid, they make me want to come visit! Please post more sketches and pictures! :)

  2. Thanks so much for the lovely compliments though the credit surely goes to Mother Nature herself!

  3. Dear Liz...I love reading your Blog, especially when you write about your present home which was my departed mother, Liz Dahlborg's former home. She and Louise Sawyer had it built in 1979, and at that time, I recall there were NO other homes in the area. It was all sand dunes as far as you could see! I am so glad you are happy there!

    1. Hi Debbie,
      We met years ago. I love this little house and came to love your Mom too. Thanks for reading the blog and I will try to include more backyard happenings for you!