you have plenty of space and you’d like to let a part of your yard go wild,
consider a living brush pile made of juniper or another evergreen. A brush pile offers shelter and cover for
small birds and mammals, and will be most welcome if placed near a wooded area
or around the edge of a field or meadow.
While most brush piles are nothing more than criss-crossed layers of
branches, stumps, and even discarded Christmas trees, a living brush pile is
made by taking a partial cut through a tree trunk, allowing it to topple over
but remain attached to the trunk.
tree will continue to live and be fed through this connection with the
roots. In California, a tree type like
California Juniper (J. californica) would
work well for a living brush pile, if allowed to grow to about ten feet tall
and then cut.
Plant some native
penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis)
nearby for the hummingbirds, scatter some clarkia seeds around, and allow a
vine to twine its way through the pile, and you will have a gloriously messy treat
for the birds.