I spoke of “rewilding” my yard back in March of last year 2021 to create a mini wildlife habitat and a refuge for myself. See “The Home Yard as a Natural Ecosystem”. In a tiny way, it would be my way of doing something for this damaged earth, replacing a piece of what has been lost and in that way replacing a piece of myself.
Unfortunately, a serious knee injury ensued and after months of being on crutches, I am up and for the most part, ambulatory. Instead of getting started last fall, my goal is to have phase 1, a 21 x 28 section of my front yard completed by the end of March. Approaching my yard in sections is much easier on the budget and initial watering. When a dump truck came two weeks ago and deposited 5 yards of soil in the middle of my driveway I knew I was fully committed.
Here is how my process has unfolded thus far…
- Purchased some resource material: “Real Gardens Grow Natives” by Eileen Stark and “Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest” by Arthur Kruckeberg
- Get inspired- I visited a native plant nursery and other native plant gardens.
- Bosky Dell Natives in West Linn, Oregon, was a total WOW for me. The Owner Lory Duralia created a virtual oasis after what was formerly a simple old farmhouse and field. I wrote about that visit here.
- Got a consultant. Often nurseries will assist you in making your garden manifest for no fee but the expectation to purchase plants from their business. I am supporting Bosky Dell Natives with the enthusiastic support that Lory has graciously given to me.
- Joined a Facebook group “Friends of Backyard Habitats- Greater Portland, OR Area“.
- Killed the lawn with cardboard (this can take a while)
- Drew a plan and make a notebook with pocket dividers. Included a map, before pictures, pictures in progress, and eventually after pictures. Saving receipts in one of the pockets.
- Layed out the berms with a garden hose.
- Collected natural materials such as downed wood and rocks. (I have been collecting large rocks from road cuts and construction sites for several years.)
- Purchased quality soil and had it delivered
- Made berms out of the soil to add elevation for interest.
- Placed rocks, downed wood. (Birdbaths and gravel for paths are coming soon.)
Now all I have to do is……
- Purchase plants
- Plant and watch them grow!
Thus far this has been an inspiring project and a great way to get outside and out of the Covid blues. Stay tuned!
All images by the author