Neighbourly Nature News

Neighbourly Nature News

Most people who spend a fair amount of time in their gardens soon develop an interest in the wider ecological footprint of their territory.  Over time, by observing the wildlife that thrives in their area, gardeners come to a greater understanding of the role these creatures play, and the need to preserve suitable habitat for the birds and many other critters with whom they share the land. 

To date, the Canadian Wildlife Federation has certified more than 650 backyards across Canada as “wildlife friendly,” meaning that they contain the food, water, shelter and space that wildlife needs to call a place home. Now,  the Village of Lawrencetown, a small community in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, has become the first community to earn such certification.  Thanks to the efforts of Diana Mullings Ackroyd, whose own property was certified in November 2009 and who then collected evidence of many other backyard habitats (30 per cent of the village’s residents) that met the CWF’s criteria, Laurencetown has been awarded CWF’s first certification as a Backyard Habitat Community.

The habitat program’s goal is to provide food, water, shelter, and space for wildlife.  Food can be as simple as fruit-bearing shrubs or  vines; flowering plants for pollinators; seed-bearing trees and shrubs; and seed-bearing perennials left through the winter. Shelter can be provided by trees, shrubs, piles of brush or logs, or even rock piles. Water can be as simple as a saucer of water or a bird bath, or as ambitious as a pond.  To read more about the Habitat program, check out the CWF website at

In  other neighbourly news, Niki Jabbour’s extremelyhelpful book  on year-round vegetable gardening is now available in bookstores. Her tips on planning, designing and planting for year-round harvesting are the result of years of experimentation. The colourful illustrations add to the book’s appeal, and make it a must for the bookshelf of anyone interested in harvesting crops of fresh greens in mid-winter.  

The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener herself

The book is published by Storey Publishing and the photographs are by Joseph de Sciose.

Next week, another neighbour, Logie Cassells , will be the guest speaker at the Chester Garden Club’s first general meeting of the year when he will make a presentation on Haskap berries, their cultivation and their use. The berries are grown locally and Logie states that  they contain high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C.  Demand for the tasty berries is growing as they can be turned into juice, jellies and liqueurs. This is a presentation not to be missed. All members are encouraged to come along, for 7 pm at St. Stephen’s Parish Community Centre on Monday, February 20th.

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