Northern Virginia was hit by one of its biggest snow storms ever recorded the weekend of January 22. After a week, the roads were finally starting to get passable even in the rural areas, so it was a good time to check out the Wildlife Garden. It seems to have survived just fine. There were plenty of birds around looking for seeds and signs that other wildlife had been visiting as well. While filming this short video several other visitors showed up to enjoy a walk in the snowy fields and forest. Hopefully, you will have an opportunity to visit the garden soon as well.
We naturally spend most of our time working and enjoying our gardens during the growing season, spring, summer and fall. But what about winter? For many of us, our gardening during the cold months is mostly an indoor exercise of reading books on landscape planning, scanning the seed catalogs for new and interesting varieties and counting the days until it gets warmer. But wouldn't you rather be outside on those days when the wind is not quite as sharp and the temperatures aren't so toe numbing cold?
Last season's plants are left in the garden to die and decompose. There they provide shelter and food for a variety of insects, birds and other wildlife. This also gives us a chance to observe a different perspective and allows us to examine parts of the plants that we might have overlooked when they were alive and full of color.
We visited the Wildlife Garden in mid-December to see if there might be some wonders hiding in the dead stems, flowers and leaves to enjoy. We weren't disappointed. The short video below shows some of the patterns, textures and colors that are in the garden in winter. We will be back next month to see some other little wonders that can only be seen during cold weather.
Conservation landscaping means working with nature to enhance wildlife habitat, reduce pollution and conserve water. It's important because how we manage our landscapes – from backyards to neighborhoods and beyond – shapes the shapes the health and ecological value of our communities. The conservation landscape at Merrimac Farm uses all native plants to create new habitats for wildlife and serves as a model for how conservation landscaping can be applied to residential areas.
The garden is located behind the Stone House and is open every day of the year. Although the garden is bursting with color and variety of flowers, birds and other creatures in the warmer months, there is something to see and enjoy every month of the year. We will report through photos and video monthly to prove out point!