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Register Your Garden as a Wildlife Habitat — Like Serendipity Gardens!

April 22, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe

Habitat sign

May — coming soon — is Garden for Wildlife Month. It is a great month to register your garden as a Wildlife Habitat. For that month only this year, the National Wildlife Federation will plant a tree for each new certification.

It’s a double whammy, benefiting both you and the environment. Read this list to see what additional benefits will accrue to you.

It’s an easy process, too.  All you do is follow these steps:

  • Visit the National Wildlife Federation page (click here or on the icon on the lower right side of the Serendipity Gardens home page)
  • Complete the forms to ascertain that you have certain items in your garden.
  • Submit with a small fee of $20, which goes to support the Federation’s work

In a few weeks, you’ll receive a sign like this one (or you can specify and pay more for a more elegant-looking sign) that identifies your garden … Read More

Make Maple Magic, Like in Serendipity Gardens

April 14, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe

If you want to plant a tree that attracts and supports wildlife, improves the environment in your yard and pleases people as well, a red maple might be a good choice. The red maple, or acer rubrum, is native to the United States.

The Maples in Serendipity Gardens

Seven maple trees grow in Serendipity Gardens, ranging in size from 5 to 50 feet. We planted only three of the six, and each of those has its story:

  • We purchased a red Japanese maple several years ago that had been pruned to arch out to one side. We planted it at the back of our pond, with the idea that it would arch up and over the pond. It does that, but its growth is so slow that the look we had in mind is hard to see. If I were buying a tree for that spot today, it would not be a Japanese maple, lovely though it is.
  • I purchased a membership to the Arbor Day Foundation and got ten trees of my choice plus a free red maple (an offer you can take advantage of today). That one seems to be growing well. It began its life in Serendipity Gardens as a stick. Today it is about five feet tall.
  • The third maple we planted was a gift from one of our sons-in-law. It is a silver maple, planted in honor of our dog Gina that died. We put her ashes in the planting hole. The tree has grown very quickly and is now about 15 to 20 feet tall. We call it the “Gina tree.”

Of the remaining four maples, one planted itself beside the driveway, and we let it stay. The other … Read More

Fab Four: “How-To” Books from Serendipity Gardens

April 7, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe


In last week’s post, I shared some books about the philosophy of gardening. The books below are more practical books about the how of gardening. They tell readers what to plant to attract wildlife, including birds, bees, and bugs; when and where to plant most any plant; and how to care for all the plants you’ve added to your garden.

Gardening for the Birds

Bird-by-Bird Gardening, by Sally Roth. I like this book for novice birders because it makes its suggestions based on bird families. “The big clues to bird families are eating habits and behavior,” … Read More

Gardening Books that Have Shaped Serendipity Gardens

March 31, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe


I started collecting gardening books when I began Serendipity Gardens.

Here are five of my favorites that talk about the “why” of gardens — and the reasons I like them. In one way or another, they have shaped my gardening choices and have made Serendipity Gardens what it is. In my post next week, I will focus on books that are more about the “how” of gardening.

Second Nature, by Michael Pollan. I like this book particularly because it is so well- reasoned and thoughtful (as all books by Pollan are). It was one of the first books I read on what … Read More

Thoughts about “Going Native” in Serendipity Gardens

March 25, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe

Alien and native

Quite a few years ago, I learned how much I enjoy watching the antics of birds and frogs in Serendipity Gardens. I patted myself on the back because I did not use pesticides, did not rake leaves in the fall, and left lots of seedheads for birds through the winter. “I am gardening for wildlife, and I want to share my expertise on this topic with others,” I said to myself. Thus I began Serendipity Gardens, the blog.

How little I knew!

Being coached (thanks to Molly Greene)  that Twitter would be one of the best ways to draw … Read More

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