By Georgia LaMar, Atlanta Audubon Volunteer Sanctuary Certifier
When did you decide to make your home an Audubon sanctuary?
Two years ago, I bought my house with the vision of creating a wildlife-friendly, mostly native front yard. When I moved in, the front yard was all turf. With an incredible input of time and labor, I removed the turf and transformed my yard into a pollinator meadow and edible landscape. I have received many compliments from neighbors and passers-by. People love that I am creating a beautiful and valuable landscape, and they see it as a desirable change. However, some neighbors are still uneasy about the somewhat wild look of my yard, so I decided to make it official and become a certified wildlife sanctuary to lend credence to the status of my yard as a haven for wildlife, pollinators, and native plants. Now, I am pushing to amend the Tucker City Code to be more supportive of certified wildlife sanctuaries.
How would you describe your style?
My style is not easy to pin down. Here are some key words—edible, native, diverse, functional, intentional.
What is the one plant you can’t do without?
One of my favorite plants is the persimmon. Our native persimmon fruit is not available in stores, so it's a special treat to have this native tree in my yard. I also love that the persimmon bears fruit in the fall, past the time that most other plants are already done fruiting. The fruits are remarkably sweet and delicious and wildlife love them, too!
What plant gives you the most bang for the buck?
Blueberries! They're cheap, native, they have delicious fruit, and beautiful fall color.
Do you have a favorite trick?
I love picking up the free mulch from the DeKalb County landfill. It's made from yard trimmings that get picked up by the city, so sometimes you find bits of garbage that need to be picked out, but its worth it. Adding organic matter to the landscape is particularly important when you have degraded soil, so I love topping beds and surrounding trees with nutrient-laden mulch.
To learn how to have your yard certified as an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary, please visit our Wildlife Sanctuary page.