About Carol Duke

Carol Duke is an artist and farmer, who has given much of the last thirty years to caring for her twenty-one acre hillside farm in Western Massachusetts. Her greatest joy in working with the land has been to see how her farm has become home to a diverse community of wildlife. Through her blog Flower Hill Farm, Carol shares the beauty of living closely with nature and how with careful consideration of conservation and only using organic practices, while being a steward to the land, one can create a true sanctuary for native flora and fauna.  Her facebookand twitter pages are used mostly for action alerts to inspire activism towards protecting wild places and wildlife the world over. Flower Hill Farm has also become a Retreat for guests visiting the area from all over the world.

A Bestiary: Part Two – White-tailed Deer


 The White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus is the second beast featured in Flower Hill Farm’s Bestiary. Leaping Siblings in Garden 2007 These beautiful chestnut, crepuscular creatures are mostly much beloved here at Flower Hill Farm. I know this is not the case for many gardeners and farmers. I do manage the land so that there is [...]

A Bestiary: Part One – American Black Bear


The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a mighty and noble beast. I have not had the joy or trepidation of seeing one here at Flower Hill Farm for many years now. My neighbor did see one about three years ago in early spring, as he was driving by on his tractor. First he thought [...]

A Bestiary . . . Tales From A Wildlife Garden


Thirty one years ago, when I began working on my hillside retreat, I had no idea how my gardens and landscape would evolve and change my life. My perceptions and awareness have never been far from where they are today even though when I began gardening/farming here, I had no idea of the native plants [...]

It Is Hard To See The New England Asters For All The Monarchs!


  Monarch butterfly migration is well under way. I watched my last Monarch butterfly emerge from its chrysalis four days ago and later in the afternoon held a perfect female out to the large sky so that she might fly and realize her new potential. It is always a thrill for me to watch a butterfly [...]

Eastern Black Swallowtail Surprise Emergence Within A Community Of Monarchs


This is where I left off in my last post . . . the beautiful green and yellow chrysalis of the Eastern Black Swallowtail hanging by a fine silk thread within a Monarch caterpillar and chrysalis community. Numerous Monarch jade-green chrysalises, formed and forming, are suspended . . . anchored by tiny black ‘cremasters’ into [...]

Raising Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillars


Every year for nearly thirty years now I enjoy the ritual of raising Monarch caterpillars and observing them throughout their astounding metamorphosis. This year as I eyed an Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes Fabricius 1775) fasten an egg to a tiny Queen Anne’s Lace plant . . .  hidden within some horrid Bishop’s Weed . . [...]

Tree Swallows Enliven Spring and Early Summer


Each spring I smile towards the return of Tree Swallows to Flower Hill Farm. It is a seasonal ritual dear to me . . . the beauty and joyous champagne chirping that accompanies their fluid dance or freestyle gliding is akin to attending a special concert daily. The ocean of air over our farm is [...]

Joys of a Wildlife Garden

Gray Catbird                                                          Photo by Carol Duke

Gardening for wildlife brings joy to our lives and offers sanctuary to countless animals whose habitats are being lost daily. Clustering shrubberies or creating hedgerows are ways of encouraging birds to choose your garden for raising their young. Not far from our Crabapple Orchard, a cluster of Viburnums, Rosa rugosa, Hydrangea and Lilac has been [...]

The Merry Month of May ‘Gardening For Wildlife’ Great Blue Heron Rookery


A few weeks ago, I had the great opportunity of visiting an Audubon Sanctuary in Northampton, Massachusetts especially to see a Great Blue Heron rookery. It is important to visit the site before the canopy of leaves unfurl, as they block the view of the bulky twig Heron nests. My guide and friend led the [...]

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