July 2022 Beauty Spot – Winner Gail Dubowe

Ann Marie Rooney, Linda McDonald, Gail Dubowe

Gail has training as a Delaware Master Naturalist, a University of Delaware program. She notes the importance of the native species trees and plants.  During her volunteer hours at the Delaware Botanic Gardens, she was able to observe and learn specifically which native plants and trees grow well in Sussex County. At her home in Lewes with her husband Mark, Gail decided the best way to utilize this knowledge was to plant a small “pocket park”. By combining small native trees and shrubs with a variety of milkweed, dill and goldenrod plants, she created an environmentally friendly new home for birds, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.

Despite a very small property with less than a quarter of acre, Gail carefully selected over a dozen trees with an emphasis on columnar and dwarf varieties. These included hornbeams, slender silhouette gum, maples, redbud and even a two-foot weeping pussy willow tree. These small native trees help to attract cardinals, blue jays, mockingbirds, chickadees and bluebirds to her garden area and with the addition of two fountain areas, an oasis for the wildlife is now available. Many of the trees selected by Gail, such as the Bonfire Patio Peach tree with vibrant pink flowers combined with maroon leaves, grow to a maximum height of 5 feet. This tree is perfect selection to plant near a sitting area in order to observe the birds and butterflies attracted to the spring flowers. The columnar hornbeam trees grow to a height of over twenty feet, yet the width is only 2 to 3 feet which is excellent for small spaces. The Fine Line Buckthorn is a deciduous broadleaf shrub with a height of 5 feet and does well in either the sun or shade. All of these trees support the insect life needed for a healthy native bird population in order to raise their offspring.

Last year, Gail planted over a dozen small American Fringe trees. With the help of her friends and neighbors, a small research project was conducted to determine the viability of the American Fringe tree here in Lewes. The project was a success with these trees returning in the spring with significant new growth and beautiful white flowers. As an added value, the local deer are not attracted to the American Fringe Tree.

Gail believes the gardens and landscaping are an important part of our lives. Plant a garden, plant a small tree and the results are beautiful. Plus, your neighbors and community will enjoy the scenery and appreciate your biodiversity efforts.