More cool stuff for the Garden

by on August 23, 2010

How Much Do You Know about Spiders?

If spiders give you the willies, you’re not alone. But, truth be told, these creepy crawlers are very helpful in your garden.

Spiders consume everything from aphids and beetles to moths and mosquitoes. So while you may not welcome them with open arms as you would a cuddly puppy, there are a few things you can do to help spiders do their job in your garden:

Provide a diversity of plants. They attract many more spiders than a lawn alone.

Build a brush pile or rock wall. They make excellent hunting grounds for spiders. If you live in an area with venomous spiders, wear gloves when moving brush or rocks to protect yourself from accidental bites.

Leave part of your yard a little overgrown. Spiders overwinter as adults inside or under dead vegetation, creating next year’s helpful population.

Help Bring Back the Bluebirds!

Have you been seeing fewer bluebirds in your garden lately? These beautiful birds have experienced a decline in the past 50 years, due to the loss of trees that provided them with nesting holes.

Fortunately, it’s not too late to save these feathered friends. You can help by building a nestbox where bluebirds can find a safe haven.

Place the nestbox in an open area with scattered trees. A wooded area that’s at least 200 feet from the nestbox will help provide protection for baby bluebirds. Mount it on a smooth metal pole to deter climbing predators. It’s also important to check your nestbox at least once a week to make sure there aren’t any problems and to track the number of eggs or young.

Give Big Trees Some Love

Big Trees
Most of us—yes, even gardeners—fail to appreciate trees. We don’t give them a second thought unless they’re in the way or in the news.

But take one look at the National Register of Big Trees—the big list of the biggest trees in the United States—and you’ll find a place where trees are always big, big, big news.

The register turns 70 years old this year, and American Forests, the group that maintains the list, is even older—135—yet they’re determined to bring big-tree love into the 21st century with a searchable database and user-friendly Web site.

Big-tree lovers from all over the country, including you, can nominate champion trees for the database. Check out the gentle giants near you by contacting your state’s big tree coordinator.

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