Out My Backdoor: The Wondrous Pokeberry

By Terry W. Johnson

One of the most fascinating and valuable plants in my backyard is not found in a flower bed, nor is it watered or fertilized. It grows in a narrow, undeveloped border between my yard and my neighbor’s garden. Here you will find an ungainly plant that some might consider nothing more than a weed on steroids. Most Georgians call this native plant pokeberry, pokeweed, poke, poke salad, pigeonberry or inkberry.


Out My Backdoor: Backyard Wildlife Feeling the Heat, Too

By Terry W. Johnson

Has it been hot enough for you? It has been for me. For days on end, in my neck of the woods daily temperatures have soared into the mid to high 90s and heat indexes routinely topped the 100-degree mark.

When it is this hot most of us spend the majority of the day in air-conditioned comfort. Whenever I am inside cooling off, I feel guilty when I think about my wildlife neighbors. They can’t escape to an air-conditioned hideaway when the temperature sky-rockets.

Out My Backdoor: Bluebird Nesting – A True-life Drama

To me, having a pair of bluebirds nest in my backyard is a really big deal. It means that I provided the birds with a much-needed place for them to lay their eggs. It also guarantees that I will be regularly seeing one of our most colorful birds for weeks to come.

Let’s take a quick glimpse at the compelling story of bluebird nesting. I am convinced that once you get a feel for what goes on in and around a nesting structure, you will better appreciate why bluebirds nesting in your yard is such a special event.

Out My Backdoor: Harbingers of Spring

By Terry W. Johnson

The first signs of spring have been seen and heard in the Peach State. They were not borne on the wings of robins or bluebirds. They were not emblazoned in the fresh vibrant colors of a crocus. They didn’t fill the still night air like the chorus of the chorus frog. Instead, the pending arrival of spring was announced from on high by birds whose ancestors winged their way over the continent some 2.5 million years ago.

The messengers were northward-bound sandhill cranes.