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: This Honeysuckle Is a Good Guy

By Terry W. Johnson

To many, the mere mention of the word honeysuckle conjures up the image of Japanese honeysuckle.
As its name suggests, Japanese honeysuckle is an alien plant. It was introduced into America as an ornamental in 1906. From its new home on Long Island, N.Y., during the 20th century this aggressive vine quickly wound its way across untold thousands of acres across the country.

Out My Backdoor: the Wildlife Christmas Tree

By Terry W. Johnson

If you were asked to name four plants that are associated with Christmas, what would you say?

You could not go wrong if you listed the holly, poinsettia, mistletoe and the Christmas tree. All of these plants will always be inexorably linked to this special holiday. However, in the hearts and minds of most Americans, the plant that symbolizes Christmas more than any other is the Christmas tree.

Out My Backdoor: Backyard Wildlife Love Acorns

By Terry W. Johnson

Acorns rank as one of the very best wildlife foods. For generations stately oaks have been rooted in backyards across the state. Although the beauty of these trees has long been recognized, their importance as valuable food plants for backyard wildlife remains largely unappreciated.

With more than 30 species of oaks native to the Peach State, regardless of whether you live in the city or country, the mountains or the coast, there is an oak that will grow in your backyard.

Out My Backdoor: A Wildlife Food Plant We Love to Hate

By Terry W. Johnson

When we are youngsters learning about the wonder and perils of the great outdoors, our parents taught us a number of valuable lessons aimed at keeping us out of harm's way. For example, we are taught that it is not a good idea to grab a bumblebee, or try to eat every berry we see. We also learned to recognize and avoid poison ivy at all cost. Often parents taught their children this important lesson using a short poem that goes like this, "Leaves of three, let them be."

Out My Backdoor: Pesticide Use Can Be Harming Your Wildlife

By Terry W. Johnson

A common axiom states that if you want an abundance of wildlife in your backyard, you need to supply food, water and cover.

But the truth is you can provide wildlife with those three elements and still not attract as much wildlife as you thought you would. When this happens, the culprit may be the improper use of pesticides – insecticides, fungicides, herbicides.