Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Canadian Backyard Habitat



Today, I'm thrilled to welcome award winning author, Lillian Brummet, as a guest blogger. In addition to writing 6 books, Lillian also produces and hosts the Conscious Discussions talk radio show, and manages the Brummet's Conscious Blog in partnership with her husband and business partner, Dave Brummet. The main focus of everything they do is to inspire hope in individuals, helping them realize the value of their efforts, and encouraging them to become more positive and proactive in life. 

Lillian was happy to share her experiences with creating backyard habitats.


Recognition of farmers and gardeners who plant native and pollinator-friendly plants,
 minimize tilling, use no chemicals (fertilizers, herbacides, pesticides), 
and provide both water and habitat for a wide array of living beings.

 


Backyard Habitat 

The Canadian Wildlife Federation has some amazing programs and how-to instructions that help people green their yards, roofs and balconies while creating diverse beauty and habitat for native and migrating creatures.  One of their programs is called the Backyard Habitat Certification that honors and celebrates those who have created a diverse backyard habitat with different types of landscaping, ponds, gardens, and trees that provide food or habitat for a wide array of organisms from bees, butterflies, birds, and frogs, to humans. Dave and I had the honor of being awarded this certification for our last property. When we purchased that double corner lot, it had been a rental for a long time to various people, some of whom were mechanics. When we looked into the history of the property we learned that many years ago it was also a repair yard for the railway at the turn of the century. On top of this, the earth was compact, rocky, and heavy clay. What little greenery that survived there was mostly weeds. While building a privacy fence around the entire property, we also created a 3-bin compost system in order to produce good soil. 


The cedar fence panels were raised 2’ off the ground so we could run wire fencing along the bottom so the dogs could have a view, the neighbors could enjoy the flowers, and the landscaping could have air circulation and sunshine. Slowly over the next 5 years, we put mortared rock wall-lined raised beds surrounding the inside of this fence line, some landscaping outside in the grassy area between the fence and the curb, and 9 raised beds for our berry and vegetable garden. We then put in a small pond with a fountain and raised flower beds along the patio, carport, and driveway. 



We focused on choosing plants that provided nectar or berries for a wide array of living beings and that would provide a constant supply of fresh flowers throughout the growing season. Another important aspect in our choice was placing deciduous shade-producing vines or trees on the areas of the house that got the most sun exposure for optimal energy savings. We also planted berries and herbs for our own consumption, installed 5 bird houses, a bird bath, and both a suet and seed bird feeder. 



The home became a stunning park that anyone passing by paused to enjoy. The air was cooler and had more moisture than outside the property, which meant we had less energy costs and less dust in the home. We spent more time outside because the yard had become beautiful, quieter, and private, and the dogs had a better experience on summer days because they could seek out shade and water. We noticed increasing numbers and diversity of birds, butterflies, pollinators, and other insects. Frogs and dragonflies magically appeared with the installation of the pond and we always had a full freezer and pantry from the garden harvests. 

After putting in so much time and passion into that property, it was difficult to leave as it was reaching maturity and the peak of its beauty. However, it was important for us to follow our dream and move to the Kootenay region of BC, Canada. Real estate agents often state that landscaping can add 15% or more to the value of your home - this is something we can attest to, and it did not take long to sell, due to the beauty of the yard and, evidently, the certification was also a selling feature. 



We purchased a home in the heart of the Kootenays and, using what we learned from the last place, we began again. Because this property was not likely to have toxins in the soil, we were able to use the earth and sod that we dug up from various projects to layer in the 3-bin compost system. We’ve been here 4 years now and already have 7 raised garden beds. We started the landscaping including 11 shrubs, 9 trees, various flowers and herbs, and 2 bird feeders. Another year will see the completion of the landscaping – the final 2 raised beds for the garden, a pond, and bird, bat and butterfly houses to help attract them to the property. 



It is important to note that the plants we’ve put in so far will help mitigate global warming - when mature, the trees and shrubs will absorb 1875 kg of pollution and release enough oxygen for 25 people every single year. 

We learned from experience that creating diverse yards not only increases property value and inspires others; it also reduces energy costs, reduces dust and noise, and provides leaves for our gardens.

~~~


Award winning author Lillian Brummet produces and hosts the Conscious Discussions talk radio show, and manages the Brummet’s Conscious Blog. Although it seems like a lifetime of scribbles and notes have led up to this – Lillian has been professionally involved in the realm of writing since 1999. She began writing poetry as a teenager, which allowed her to express the issues and emotions from a broken home, abusive childhood, and being on her own at 13-years old. Through poetry she learned how to see beyond these hurts and discover a world outside of herself, where she learned that her life really did have value and that she had a purpose to fulfill.

Lillian has fond memories of an early childhood in California and Nevada (USA) and grew up in the south-central region of BC, Canada. Her business partner and husband, Dave, was born and raised in Kelowna (BC) where he met up with Lillian in 1990 and they have been together ever since. Dave and Lillian have collaborated their efforts and have authored of 6 books.

In those few stolen moments when she is not in the office, she can be found spending time with her husband gardening, indulging in nature, camping, and walking the many trails in BC’s (Canada) wilderness. 

2 comments:

  1. I had so much fun putting this project together for your blog. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my passion for gardening consciously. :) If people would like to find out more here are a few resources: http://www.cwf-fcf.org - http://seeds.ca - http://pollinationcanada.ca

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Lillian! It was an honor to present your post to the GG community!

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