Smell Like Dirt

In Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood


We didn’t call it the Smell Like Dirt store but that’s what it is!  Everything you need for a thriving backyard habitat in one location!  Food, water (features), shelter and places to raise young for birds and other wildlife.  We hope that you will come by and see us if you are in the Charlotte NC area!  We will be hosting Bird Lover Workshops, composting classes and how to create habitat presentations.  Drop by our website and sign up for our newsletter.


Gardening for Wildlife Workshop

If you live in or near Columbia County, Florida, make sure you don’t miss the upcoming Gardening for Wildlife Workshop sponsored by the Gateway Wildlife Habitat Organization (GWHO). GWHO is the organization working to get Lake City and Columbia County certified as a Community Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Carol will be the keynote speaker on Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 7pm at the Lake City Garden Club. For more details, email me at


Only two classes left!

Leaves for compst

Spring composting classes are drawing to a close. I am only scheduled to teach two more classes until Fall. The next one is 4/17 at the Charlotte Nature Museum (704 372 6261 x300) and the other one is scheduled for May 15 in Matthews (704 847 3640). The classes are $10 and if you would like to attend, please call the facility and register for the class. Remember, compost is the very best thing you can add to your soil and you can make it for FREE out of materials in your home and garden!

Compost. Managing a Natural Process

Backyard Composting is simply taking a process that’s completely natural and speeding it up so that we can reuse the yard waste from our gardens for the benefit of our gardens. If you can’t take one of my classes (see previous post) then take the time to watch these videos and feel free to ask if you have any questions!

Composting and Sustainable Gardening Classes

We’re getting a lot of hits and comments about composting so Fall must be close! If you don’t live in the Greater Charlotte NC area, please watch the composting videos for a quick how-to. But if you are lucky enough to live in the area, Mecklenburg County offers 4 hr Composting and Sustainable Gardening classes for only $10 and you don’t have to live inside the county lines to take advantage of them! What’s more, you get a wire composting bin and a book of information and a comprehensive list of native plants. Go to the Wipe Out Waste website for a listing of the classes. I’ll be teaching the classes being held on Oct 3rd, Oct 24th, 31st, and Nov 7th.

A Three-fer

A short Down and Dirty tip on how to make your freezer more efficient, save energy and plan for natural disasters….all by doing one simple thing. And as we enter hurricane and tornado season, I think this tip is pretty timely as well.


After a long dry spell (pun intended), we’re back with a video about water.

Of the four elements of a wildlife habitat: Food, water, shelter and places to raise young, I think water is the most important. EVERYTHING needs water and being creative in providing water for wildlife can lead to hours of enjoyment watching the birds and other wildlife in your backyard.

If you have some creative ways you are providing water in your habitat, please let us know by sending pictures or videos.

Last Composting/Wildlife Gardening Class until the Fall


I’m teaching my last composting and wildlife gardening class until Sept 09 this Saturday, May 9 at the Charlotte Nature Museum (1658 Sterling Rd, Charlotte, NC – (704) 372-6261). This class is sponsored by Mecklenburg County and attendees get a wire compost bin and a book about composting and sustainable gardening practices. Its an interactive class style and I use a lot of pics and short video clips that I take for Smell Like Dirt in my presentation. We’ll discuss using worms for composting kitchen scraps too!

If you want to attend, you must call the Nature Museum directly to register. I hope you will join us! Click here for more information


You probably know about The Feederwatch Program at Cornell, right? Its a program that allows birders of all skills levels—beginners, experts and everyone in between–become Citizen Scientists by recording their bird sightings around the country to help scientists track population levels, spread of diseases, etc. As a birder, its a great tool for tracking when migrations will start or end so you know when should you visit a certain area of the country for peak birdwatching or what birds you are likely to see when you go to another state, etc. As a Gardener, I would love to have a site where I could go and research, for example, when should I plan my trip to Georgia to see the most azaleas in bloom. Or when is the average “peak” date for the Rhododendrons blooming in the mountains of the Carolinas. Well, Happy Birthday to Me! now there is such a site. The USA National Phenology Network is dedicated to, well, Phenology which (according to the site) “is the study of recurring plant and animal life cycle events, such as leafing and flowering of plants, maturation of agricultural crops, emergence of insects, and migration of birds.”
And they are asking for us to help them by reporting when the Dogwoods are blooming our gardens or when you picked your first tomato, basic “gardening journal” stuff that you’ve been doing for years. And if you’ve kept your journals, you can go back as far as you have records and upload the information. You can even help them track Monarch Butterfly migration. Once we all start reporting our observations, the Powers That Be can take our information and compile it with information from others to paint a very accurate picture of what we can expect blooming (or not) around the country. Its very easy to sign up and they need help in every corner of the country. Every gardener already pays attention to what’s blooming and fruiting anyway, but now you have a place to record it for people who are really interested in what you are seeing. You can be a part of the BIG picture!

Creating a Wildlife Habitat Series

Backyard Habitat
If you live near Charlotte, come and join us for a two part series on Creating a Wildlife Habitat. On Tuesday, March 3 at 7pm. I will be presenting how to provide the four critical elements needed for a Wildlife Habitat (food, water, shelter, places to raise young), planting with natives, lawn and chemical reduction as well as soil and water conservation. The meeting is free and open to everyone. On April 7, Landscape Designer and Habitat Steward, Mary Bures, will be teaching how to design a landscape that is wildlife friendly. The meeting is sponsored by Habitat and Wildlife Keepers (HAWK), a chapter of the NC Wildlife Federation. The meeting takes place at the Matthews Community Center and is free and open to everyone. Hope you will join us! For more info, click here