Books will show it’s not too late to attract wildlife to your garden

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 21, 2014

Our flower gardens are looking tired. Crape myrtles are winding down. Soon our lawns will be strewn with colorful fall leaves. It seems that the gardening season is practically over. But the truth is, fall is actually an excellent time for gardening.

Although things above ground may appear to be at a standstill, there is much activity below. The soil is still warm, and given enough moisture, roots are growing. Fall is a wonderful time for planting, as it gives trees and shrubs a chance to get established before the cold of winter. This fall, why not enhance your landscape by adding some native plants that will attract and support wildlife in your yard? Rowan Public Library has all kinds of books to guide you in making your landscape more wildlife-friendly.

You don’t have to have lots of space to create a habitat for wildlife. In “Natural Gardening in Small Spaces,” Noel Kingsbury shows us that even in a small garden you can create a sustainable ecosystem that creates a haven for wildlife. Kingsbury advocates a “balance between ornamental elements and a certain amount of ‘letting go’” in order to achieve a successful natural garden whether you live in the country, suburbs or city. With advice on shady gardens, backyard grasslands and dry habitats, Kingsbury helps you create a wildlife-friendly design for your landscape.

Many of us have birdfeeders in our yards, but if you really want to make your yard inviting to the songbirds, think about the habitat you offer. Are your trees suited for nesting and perching? Do you have shrubs to provide hiding places and plants that provide seeds and attract insects?

“Birds in Your Backyard: a Bird Lover’s Guide to Creating a Garden Sanctuary,” by Robert J. Dolezal, tells you how to plan your garden to offer food, water, protection, shelter and nesting locations. The plant guide will help you choose plants that are most attractive to desired species, with suggestions for flowering plants, ground covers, vines, ornamental grasses, shrubs and small trees.

Before you head to the garden center, take some time to peruse “Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens,” by Douglas W. Tallamy. Concerned about the aggressive nature of alien plant species and the decline of native wildlife, Tallamy makes a compelling argument for planting native plant species to provide a welcoming environment for wildlife of all kinds. He explains how gardening with natives can create plantings that will stay beautiful and in balance without the use of pesticides. His basic message is simple: “By favoring native plants over aliens in the suburban landscape, gardeners can do much to sustain the biodiversity that has been one of this country’s richest assets.”

Other titles that you may enjoy include “Wildlife at Your Back Door: How to Create a Haven for Nature’s Friends” by Sharon Amos and “The National Wildlife Federation’s Guide to Gardening for Wildlife,” written by Craig Tufts and Peter Loewer. Come to Rowan Public Library for these and many other gardening guides.

Children’s story time: Weekly through Nov. 26. For more information, call 704-216-8234.

• Baby Time — Loosely interactive program introducing simple stories and songs to babies 6–23 months old with a parent or caregiver. Program lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays, 10 a.m.

• Toddler Time — Focused on sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills for children ages 18–35 months with a parent or caregiver; lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Mondays, 11 a.m.

• Tiny Tumblers — Loosely interactive program introducing simple stories, musical scarves and instruments for babies 6-23 months old with a parent or caregiver. The same program is offered two times per week; lasts 30 minutes. South, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.

• Preschool Time — To encourage the exploration of books and build reading readiness skills for children ages 3-5 with a parent or caregiver; lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; South, Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m.

• Noodlehead Story Time — For children ages 4-8 to enjoy listening to silly books and tales together; lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Mondays, 4 p.m.

• Art programs — School-age children can learn different art terms and techniques and work on art projects. Program lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Art in the Afternoon, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, Emma’s Easel, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Art with Char, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.

Computer classes: Computer Basics, Thursday, 9:30 a.m., headquarters. If you’re new to computers or if you’ve never felt comfortable with them, Computer Basics covers the very basics, from discussing computer components to how programs are opened and closed. Classes are free. Sessions are about 90 minutes long. Class size is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Dates and times at all locations are subject to change without notice.

Teen Program: All programs 5:30-7 p.m. South, Tuesday; East, Sept. 29; Headquarters, Sept. 30. Celebrate the autumnal equinox with a variety of leaf-centered crafts. Teen programs are for middle school and high school students. Light refreshments for teens included.

Book Bites Club: South Regional (only), Sept. 30, 6:30 p.m., “A Week in Winter,” by Maeve Binchy. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-7841.

Displays for September: headquarters, Daughters of American Revolution, Manga 200th anniversary by Robert Clyde Allen; South, student art by Carson High School; East, Alpha Beta.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.