Gardening for Wildlife forum: Wild Fruits for the Wild Critters

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Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
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JuneOntario
Jul 31, 2013 1:33 PM CST
I took a walk through the woods and around the meadow today, and noticed this has been a good year for fruits that the birds and critters like to eat. The wild raspberries looked so attractive, I almost picked them, then decided to leave them for the animals.
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Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
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JuneOntario
Aug 1, 2013 6:07 AM CST
The wild grapes have fruited well, too. I won't be trying to make wine from them, although I am partial to a glass of red or white with my dinner.
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Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
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JuneOntario
Aug 2, 2013 6:49 AM CST
There must have been an orchard here a long time ago, judging by the number of wild apple trees growing in the brush behind the old barn and along the edges of the nearby woods. None of the apple trees bear fruit edible for humans (unless used for cider) and so deer, squirrels, raccoons, other wildlife, and the occasional escaped cow, all enjoy the bounty. This year there has been a bumper crop, compared to last year when a late frost destroyed the apple blossom. My pic shows ripe wild apples.
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Newyorkrita
Aug 2, 2013 11:21 AM CST
The birds here are feasting on the gray dogwood berries. They make large shrubs.
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
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JuneOntario
Aug 2, 2013 2:42 PM CST
Hi Rita! I too have a gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa)!. It's a long way from the house, next to the fence line, and so I don't see it up close very often. I put in a serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis), and a red oak (Quercus rubra) for the wildlife too, in that area. I guess I should go check on the fenceline shrubs and see how they're doing!
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Newyorkrita
Aug 2, 2013 2:46 PM CST
I love gray dogwood but it does make a large shrub. Mine is way off in a backyard corner near my property line also.
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
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JuneOntario
Aug 3, 2013 3:11 PM CST
I think these berries are honeysuckle, but I don't know what species. The bushes are about 6ft tall and covered in fruits. There's also a smaller bush with similar leaves that has yellow berries. It looks like the birds are going to have a feast!
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Newyorkrita
Aug 3, 2013 3:24 PM CST
June, they definitely look like shrub honeysuckle. And birds do love honeysuckle berries vining or shrub. I have a shrub honeysuckle called Arnolds Red Honeysuckle. With red berries. So that is what it might be. But defiantly one of the shrub honeysuckles. Arnolds Red has red flowers in the spring, sometimes with repeat bloom so that is how you can tell.
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
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JuneOntario
Aug 3, 2013 6:17 PM CST
Thanks, Rita. I will try to remember to look at the bushes while they are flowering next year, and hopefully identity them from the flowers. They are probably not native honeysuckles, since all the bushes planted here by the previous owners of the property are plants traditionally found at small rural garden centers, such as forsythia, lilac, bridal wreath spirea, purple-leaf sand cherry, and hibiscus. I recently planted a native honeysuckle, Lonicera canadensis, in one of my flowerbeds, but so far it has not borne any fruits. When I lived in southeast PA, vining Japanese honeysuckle was invasive there - the birds dropped seeds everywhere! Do you have a problem with Jap honeysuckle in your area?
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Newyorkrita
Aug 3, 2013 6:27 PM CST
There are many vining honeysuckles. Only the japanese ones are invasive. Try some of the trumpet honeysuckle vines or the Late or early Dutch honeysuckle.
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
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JuneOntario
Aug 4, 2013 7:01 AM CST
Will do, Rita!

Today's pic was taken a couple of years ago, but is representative of what I can expect to see soon: bunches of ripe elderberries. Elderberry bushes frequently appear in various places on my property - such as next to the barn, in a flowerbed, around the edges of the woodland - but most only last about 5 years before they start dying back. I'm pretty sure the elder borer beetle is to blame for the losses.
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
Newyorkrita
Aug 4, 2013 10:23 AM CST
Oh yes, elderberries are great for the wildlife. Don't have any here though.
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
JuneOntario
Aug 5, 2013 7:16 AM CST
A fruit only in the sense that shellfish are sometimes described as "fruits of the sea", this freshwater mussel was pulled from the pond by a raccoon. You know how raccoons feel around in the mud for crayfish...well, one put his paw into an open mussel shell, and the mussel closed up on it. The poor raccoon was limping around for about an hour with the mussel stuck on his front paw. Finally, he managed to pry it off, opened it, and ate it.

The pond contains some fairly large crayfish, which we see only when they are being eaten by herons, raccoons, and mink. There are lots of fish too, as the pond was a long time ago stocked with trout. The pond is no longer used for fishing, but provides food for a number of fish-eating birds, such as great blue heron, green heron, kingfisher, osprey, Caspian tern, hooded merganser, common merganser, and even the occasional loon.
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
Newyorkrita
Aug 5, 2013 9:22 AM CST
June, the pond sounds wonderful! Thumbs up It must be very pretty also.
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
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JuneOntario
Aug 5, 2013 10:42 AM CST
I can take a hint! Here's a late-summer view of the pond, taken standing on the dam and looking towards the far bank, where a low wooden bridge crosses the incoming stream (towards the left side of the pic).
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Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
Newyorkrita
Aug 5, 2013 10:59 AM CST
I sure would love to hang out there. What a beautiful setting! Lovey dubby Thumbs up Big Grin
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Aug 5, 2013 4:19 PM CST
How nice to have an in-stream pond. We dug a farm pond many years ago and could not get the proper approval from fisheries for in-stream. They never could quite articulate a reason, just kept saying it would be 'very difficult' to approve. We ended up having to dig a narrow inlet and outlet with the pond off to the side of the main creek. Ours is much smaller than yours. We get regular visits from herons and eagles, occasional river otters, and battle with beavers every so often (they flood out the entire bottomland, including our access road to the back). In this fall photo, all the white trees in the background are dead alders from our most recent beaver flooding. They become quite dangerous, dropping down without warning.

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I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
JuneOntario
Aug 5, 2013 8:19 PM CST
Your pond looks very tranquil, Deb! Beavers are a problem, I know. They regularly stop up our pond outlet, and keeping the water flowing is a chore. At one time, they were cutting down a huge number of sapling trees every night, and after a neighbor complained that they had started felling his trees, we had to call in a trapper. The number of resident beavers was reduced to one pair. Their population is growing again, though.

DH and I were lucky to get an in-line pond. When it was constructed (during the 1950's) the rules were more relaxed. The property at that time was owned by a lawyer who lived in Toronto and who wanted an out-of-town place to take his friends fishing at the weekend. He dammed the stream, bulldozed out one large pond and a smaller one connected to it by a short channel. The ponds are now silting-up, and the small one is fast being filled by cattails. The rules now prohibit creation of in-line ponds, and no dredging can take place on existing in-line ponds, so we'll just have to let nature take its course.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Aug 6, 2013 7:05 AM CST
We have problems with silting also and have had to dredge twice. I suppose perhaps we are fortunate to be able to block the inlet and outlet to do that. The original excavator who dug it had a penchant for islands and even though we specifically told him no island, he left us one anyway. It just makes it look smaller in my mind, and is that much more shoreline to slough off. Serves no particular purpose other than a haven for weasels.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
JuneOntario
Aug 7, 2013 6:33 AM CST
I had been wishing I had an island in my pond so that there would be somewhere safe from foxes and coyotes for geese and swans to nest. Darn, I didn't know weasels are attracted to islands!

Today's fruit is a Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata) growing among the cattails on the bank of the pond. The seeds are well-guarded inside the round, prickly casing. I wonder what eats them?
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