Phyllis Both color for BNR

Phyllis Both

“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.” — James M. Barrie

Consider this worthwhile New Year’s resolution: Create a wildlife habitat in your backyard. You can have it certified by the National Wildlife Federation. All you need to do is include elements from each of the following areas:

  • Food source: Plant shrubs and trees (especially natives) that supply fruits, nuts, berries, and nectar.
  • Water source: Supply water for wildlife with a heated birdbath in winter and a pond or other water source in the summer.
  • Shelter: Provide thickets, rock piles or birdhouses. Or plant conifers.
  • Place to raise young: Research and add habitat for the type of wildlife you wish to attract. Some examples are dense shrubs, native vegetation, nesting boxes and even a pond.
  • Sustainable gardening practices: Use mulch, make compost, create a rain garden, reduce your lawn area and avoid using chemicals.

A brush pile in an out-of-the-way area in your yard can protect wildlife from predators. Creating your own wildlife habitat is fun, rewarding and ecofriendly, especially when you get children involved.

As you look out at the beautiful white snow, think about creating a white garden next spring. It is not too soon to plan. White flowers lend simplicity to the garden and create a relaxing effect. Because they reflect light, white flowers are excellent choices for a garden viewed in the evening.

The Sissinghurst Castle in England has a famous white garden. It was designed by Vita Sackwill-West who said, “I love color, but white is glorious forever.”

Plants such as Artemisia, roses, lilies, phlox and clematis are beautiful, but there is a wide variety of white flowers for each season from which to choose. The word “alba” in a flowers name means it is white. A contrast of gray-green and dark green leaves provide interest and an even distribution of whites and greens throughout the garden will provide a planting balance.

It is time to check your amaryllis to see if any are beginning to sprout. If so, bring it into a bright area and water.

Phenology calendars are on sale for $15 at the Sauk County UW-Extension office, 505 Broadway St., Baraboo. For more information, call 608-355-3250.

Contact Phyllis Both by email at or by telephone on Monday mornings at the Sauk County UW-Extension office, 608-355-3253.