mgranda

Joined: Jul 19, 2020 Last Active: Jan 20, 2022 iNaturalist

In 2017, my husband (a professional landscape ecologist) and I (an amateur naturalist), found an ideal site for our new home. We were attracted to this 10-acre parcel, once part of the original Durham family farms near White Cross, because it is relatively remote (for Orange County) and it contains a remarkable variety of forested habitats. We set about learning the plants on the property, noticing the differences in the riparian area as the creek transitioned from a sandy and slow section to a rocky and fast section, and along the gradients of elevation and aspect in the adjacent 20-year-old cutover hardwood-pine forest.

Our evolving native plant list now includes about 75 herbaceous species, 10 vines, and 30 trees, and we’re getting better at identifying other plant forms, including fungi (we’ve tentatively identified 25 different species with the
help of the iNaturalist community). After moving in two years ago, we began to create, within a “home zone,” a series of plant communities according to micro-habitats, along with some space for vegetables. While the home zone focus is on native North Carolina plants, for aesthetic and seasonal interest we do include some non-invasive ornamentals. Our evolving list of planted material now includes more than 100 species across the range of plant forms. Apart from a heavy hand in the septic field (wildflower seeding) and in the old pasture (planted fruit and ornamental trees and shrubs, and a butterfly garden), we are attempting to minimize our impact outside the
home zone. Our experience learning about the flora and fauna in our region has been very satisfying and rewarding, and we look forward to a continuing journey with nature in the years to come.

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