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Westside home earns Rocky Mountain region 'Habitat Hero' selection

Tony White and Patti Freudenburg display a pumpkin they grew outside their Friendship Lane home. Note: This photo, like the other two accompanying this story, were taken previously, during warm weather.
Courtesy of Patti Freudenburg
       Tony White and Patti Freudenburg are Habitat Heroes.
       The Westside married couple earned that honor last year from their efforts to make their home's front and back yards water-efficient, attractive and appealing to bees and butterflies.
       The annual “Hero” awards cap an ongoing project by the Audubon Rockies and the Terra Foundation. Their “Be a Habitat Hero” website presents the project mission: “Grow a network of habitat for songbirds and pollinators in gardens across the Rocky Mountains and beyond, save water for our streams and rivers, and restore our joy in nature every day.”
       Twenty-three of the 28 recognized properties are in Colorado, with others in Wyoming, Utah and South Dakota. There was one other selectee in Colorado Springs - the Horticultural Art Society Gardens, 1117 Glen Ave.
A butterfly visits the agastache flowers in the White-Freudenburg garden.
Courtesy of Patti Freudenburg

       “Habitat Heroes use wildscaping to 'plant a lifeline' for songbirds, pollinators and other imperiled wildlife - removing water-thirsty and sterile turf grass and restoring diverse habitat in gardens and landscapes, whether public, private or commercial,” reads a press release that announced the winners.
       White and Freudenburg live on Friendship Lane, in a small, older neighborhood off Mesa Road. Their award was uniquely subtitled “outstanding wildlife habitat.” Among the 28 winners, they were among 12 who had the word “outstanding” applied to their award.
       “Living not far from the foothills and Garden of the Gods, this couple knows their yard is part of a wildlife corridor between the plains and the mountains, so they make a point of landscaping to provide food and water for critters from native bees to bobcats!” the Habitat Hero website states
A profusion of blossoms are seen on the yellow horn tree, which Patti Freudenburg recommends for the local climate.
Courtesy of Patti Freudenburg
(under a photo showing a visiting bobcat). “Their backyard, mostly fenced to keep out deer, is where the couple's chickens and edibles live; their front yard is a xeriscape full of food plants for pollinators and songbirds.”
       In an e-mail exchange, Patti responded to questions from the Westside Pioneer :
       How did you get nominated for consideration?
       - A neighbor who knew about the program suggested we enter.
       How big is your garden?
       - Depends how you define “garden” - our front and back yards together are probably about 1/4 acre. We have NO grass (except for a few native ornamentals). Everything is designed for our conditions - lots of "water-wise," native, drought- and heat-tolerant plants. Colorful flowering ground-covers add a lovely "carpet" during some seasons of the year. We strive to attract pollinators (especially butterflies and mason bees) and attempt to plant items that are less tempting to deer (but as any gardener knows, that can be a losing battle!).
       What's in it?
       - In addition to the native perennials spread in both front and back, most years we also grow vegetables ranging from snow peas to beets to arugula and lettuces. We utilize drip lines and mulch everywhere to help retain moisture. One of our favorite trees is called a yellow horn, and it originated in China. It does well with as little as six inches of rain annually, matures at only 22 feet, and in the spring when in bloom it is a show-stopper!
       How did it come about (what were your goals in creating the garden)?
       - The yard is continually evolving, for our enjoyment and usually to the delight of folks driving or walking by. We want to continue to do all we can to minimize water use, attract pollinators (no pollinators, no food!) and create a visually pleasing landscape. We have small ponds both front and back, and of course these features provide water to a variety of thirsty critters throughout the year.
       How much time a week on average do you spend working on it?
       - Depends on our mood! Both of us would rather be outside than in, and to us, spending time in the yard isn't really "work." Once plants are established and other than maintaining the mulch, there isn't that much 'work' required. Our garden is a joy to us!

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 2/13/15; Outdoors: General)

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