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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Many of us can help Nighthawks rest and get away from it all


 
Common Nighthawk
 
Common Nighthawks
Fairly common birds here are some members of the Nightjar family; Chuck-Will’s-Widow and the Nighthawk.  They aren’t related in any way to hawks, and rarely fly at night, preferring to fly around catching insects at dusk and dawn. The reason for the name is a mystery.
During mid-day they nest (and rest) on flat surfaces, in the sun. Which is where human help comes in handy. Common Nighthawks love flat roofs! So if you have a flat roof, and create an area (8+ sq. ft.) of brownish gravel, you stand a very good chance of attracting some. Especially in cooler weather;  they like the sunshine and relative undisturbed peace of a long rest on a flat roof.
 

Getting good Mileage       Most Canada geese migrate to wherever they can find food (but not all - the ones around here often have enough food available so they can stay all year). They can fly up to 600 miles a day, at 1000 to 4000 feet. They travel at a steady 30 to 35 miles per hour.  (by the way they’re named “Canada Geese”, not “Canadian”.)

 

 

OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.

 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A pumpkin planter is a unique, colorful porch decoration

Think of adding plants to your outdoor decorations this fall. Flowers like mistflower and pansies, or ornamental grasses like indiangrass and muhly provide unique and creative ways to decorate for the season. Branches full of berries are good too. Don't be surprised if some of our feathered friends are also attracted.

Paired with pumpkins and gourds grown in the garden, pumpkin planters are unique; I bet nobody else will have one. Adding plants makes for a fun appearance of an outdoor space. 

This Halloween, make containers for the front porch to impress the neighbors who are making their trick or treat rounds. Bold colors like reds and yellows, or cool tones like purples and blues will provide fresh accents for your yard throughout the fall.

 Here’s how you can make this rustic planter:

  1. When visiting the pumpkin patch or store with you kids or grandkids, choose a medium- or large-size pumpkin. Choose one with a sturdy base to create a stable container that will dress up the front porch.

  2. Cut a hole in the top wide enough to snuggly insert a plant pot — about 6 inches in diameter.

  3. Scoop out the pumpkin seeds and pulp for a smooth surface, just as you would a jack-o-lantern. (You can roast the seeds, too, for a tasty snack!)

  4. Take a 6-inch round pot of flowers (your choice of color) and place it inside the carved hole. If the pumpkin is large, use filler for the inside, such as empty plastic bottles, or bubble wrap. The container lip should just clear the top of the pumpkin.

  5. Randomly stick several stalks of native prairie grass in any space or void, to give it a finished, natural look.

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  7. OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.