Archives for posts with tag: Wildlife habitat

A baby Box Turtle

Baby Box Turtle. Picture by Catskill Native Nursery

This item is from the Facebook page of The Catskill Native Nursery, a nursery that specializes in trees, shrubs and pants that are native to New York and the US.

“While out on his morning dog walk, Francis noticed this baby box turtle enjoying the damp woods. A box turtle may live as long as a hundred years, all within a few acres. They are on the menu of various creatures, but their leading cause of death is habit destruction and encountering vehicles such as ATV’s, 4×4 off-road driving, cars and lawn mowers. If you want to help box turtle populations you should encourage their habitat that consists of moist soil (swamps, marsh, moist grasslands or damp forest depressions) and open meadows where they like to breed. Instead of trying to turn our forest floors into tidy parks by tossing down grass seed and removing all downed branches we should encourage the growth of ferns, sedges, partridge berry, wintergreen and low growing shrubs like mountain laurel, huckleberry and blueberry. Meadows are always better than “golf courses”, if you are a part of nature’s web. Box turtles are omnivores and eat insects, mushrooms, berries, and grubs. One of their favorite treats is the fruit of mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum). This is an easy to grow, deer resistant, self-spreading plant we encourage people to cultivate in their larger shade gardens and woodland understory.”

“Please don’t move box turtles unless you are saving them from danger. They do not want to be a pet. They are designed to be free-range little tanks fueling up on fungi, berries and bugs – and for making more baby box turtles. If we respect their wild spirit and their habitat they will continue to share our world, and future generations of humans can enjoy discovering them on their walks in the woods.”

Learn more about the Catskill Native Nursery here.

Drive with care and be aware

As you probably know, this time of year, turtles cross roads to go to their breeding areas. Please be careful when driving. If possible (where safe to do so) stop and move the turtle to it’s destination on the other side of the road (the direction it is headed).

Thank you!

Every day is ‘Earth Day’ don’t you think?

A painted turtle walking on the side of the road

A painted turtle on the side of the road

Our hummingbirds are attracted to anything red, so much so that I observed one fly toward our trash can, hover over the red label on the lid and inspect it thoroughly before buzzing away. Why red?

Could the hummingbird be in constant search of the scarlet flowers of the Red Trumpet Vine (Campsis Radicans)? A vine that grows 30′ with large tubular 3″ flowers must be a coveted nectar source for the hummingbird whose beak and long tongue are adapted for feeding on the trumpet-shaped flowers.

Red Trumpet Vine flowers and buds. Source:

Red Trumpet Vine flowers.

“Showy” is how the horticulturists describe the flowers which are about 3″ long. This is something of an understatement! The vine has an outrageously tropical appearance, which is unexpected in upstate New York, an area famous for Maple trees, apples and sweet corn.

Red Trumpet vine covering a fence. Source:

A vigorous plant which quickly covers a fence.

Although it resembles an escapee from a green house, it’s native to north eastern US.

Red Trumpet vine seedpods. Source:

Seed pods provide additional interest.

The red trumpet vine is sometimes planted around front yard mailboxes, very decorative but imagine a 35′ vine growing up a 3′ post – you’d have to keep on top of the pruning or your mailbox would be engulfed pretty quickly. This is a beautiful vine but it needs plenty of space and a strong support structure such as a pergola.

Red Trumpet vine growing over a trellis in a garden. Source:

Requires a substantial trellis.

Red Trumpet vine growing by a mailbox. Source:

Get the hedge clippers out!

Sometimes called ‘Hummingbird vine’, this plant is an important nectar source for hummingbirds and other pollinating insects including butterflies and moths.  Because it is native to eastern US it provides habitat for native wildlife species and contributes to a healthy ecosystem.

Red Trumpet vine flowers. On

Red Trumpet vine flowers – hummingbirds find it irresistible

If you don’t have the space for the trumpet vine, how about planting a native honeysuckle such the ‘Coral Honeysuckle’ (Lonicera sempervivens)? It is a woody vine with large bright red tubular flowers and has all the advantages of the hummingbird vine. It  can reach up to 30′ but is easily pruned to a smaller size and considered a non-aggressive grower.

If you have a suggestion for a smaller native vine that would provide habit/food for wildlife, share your knowledge and add a comment. Thanks!

For more about this vine and other native species, check out this site Flourish of Trumpets!

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