|We will take
the word "Garden" to
include all the areas of your property,
whether something is planted there
or not. These different Zones may change their characteristics when
are added or removed. They may also change with the seasons and weather
With Birds and Wildlife, we refer to Zones as "Habitat". It's those
fundamental elements which are supportive to the life of a particular
species of Plant or Animal. Food is high on the list, whether it's
Berries for Birds or Soil Nutrients for Plants. Squirrels need Trees,
Rabbits favor Fence Rows, Fish demand Water.
Gardeners may not think much about Birds and Wild life when we Landscape
our property or Garden, but desirable Plants and Animals can be welcomed or shunned by our
choices. For instance, Shrubs on the North side of a Garden will
provide a nesting site to attract insect-eating Birds to your Garden,
which minimizes the need for costly and dangerous Insecticides.
A "Plant" that slowly creates definite
Zone characteristics is a Black Walnut Tree.
Its roots exude Juglone, a
Toxic substance that is a killer to some Plants including Tomatoes. It
may remain in the soil for years after the Walnut Tree is removed. Then
the soil may slowly change back to the Garden Zone which it was before
the Tree grew there, and allow Tomato Plants to grow there again.
The characteristics of a particular
spot are the factors which determine which Plants will thrive there and
which will not. It is much easier to plant varieties which love the
Zone, than to change the Zone to satisfy a different Plant.
Lowlands tend to be damp, because
the water drains down there. Plants that like moisture may be happy
And if there happens to be a shade Tree, then another group of Plants
also be happy there. Already, we have defined 2 Garden Zones; Damp and
Sunny, and Damp and Shady.
You can't have Lowlands without
having Highlands. So unless your land is flat, we can assume
another shady spot could define a 4th. Garden Zone. The higher
will have better drainage than the lower elevations, which is just
what some Plants prefer.
Within Major Zones there will
be Minor Zones, which may have daily or seasonal variations that are to
the liking of particular Plants. Bright morning sunshine may be
by Impatiens and Bleeding Hearts. But the hot, noonday Sun may wilt
However, if there is a shade Tree nearby that casts a
protective shadow over
them at high noon, they may have found a happy home.
Rhododendrons, Azaleas and
Hydrangeas may also be happy there, especially if the Tree is an Oak or
some other species whose decomposing Leaves add acidic Compost to the Soil.
have a Wood Burner, and scatter the Ashes on your property, then that
area will become less acid, or more alkaline and support those Plants
which prosper under those conditions.
And if there is a Rock outcropping
or Stone cover under the Tree, they will provide even more Zones.
tend to prevent soil drying and weed growth and are used as a Plant Mulch.
They also tend to raise the coolness of the earth above the ground
in a shady area or hold the warmth of sunshine during cool evenings.
that appreciate these characteristics may have found their preferred
Nutrients are a major
factor in the selection of Zones. While some Plants may thrive on
very meager rations, others demand a banquet to produce the desired
these many varying factors create an almost endless list of Garden
on your property.
bottom line is that you can
save yourself a lot of work, if you will look around to see what is
naturally, and study charts that indicate Plant preferences. Then
select Plants based on the characteristics of your naturally occurring
rather than trying to change Zones to suit your favorite Plants and
endlessly to maintain the unnatural Zones.