Fall is the favorite time of year for gardeners Cynthia and Ritch Berkland of rural Cylinder. The vivid colors of oranges pumpkins and magenta zinnias come to life in front of the Berkland’s farm home.
“We are trying to plant native plants to attract birds and bees and butterflies, and more wildlife habitat,” says Cynthia.
Enter the property at 3216 510th Avenue where there is a display of Century Farm signs. The Berkland farm was settled in 1891 by Ritch’s great grandfather. The second Century Farm sign is from Cynthia’s grandmother’s farm, the Allen family from the Maxwell, IA area. That was where her father grew up.
“It’s a way of melding the two families,” Cynthia explains. The signs are displayed on a small windmill that came from her parents’ home and the rose bush is planted there in honor of her mother.
The current Berkland home was built in 1954. Cynthia and Ritch have planted all of the trees on the property, with the exception of the cottonwood trees.
The land across the road is planted in prairie grass in an effort to create more habitat. The Berklands spot spray for noxious weeds in the ditches, but allow the milkweeds to grow for the Monarch butterflies.
Bird houses and bird feeders hang on a wooden swing set with flowers all around. A row of white peony bushes are a reminder of when Pearl and Amos Berkland lived on the farm.
A tour of the property finds sunflowers (planted by the birds), dahlia, clematis, aronia bushes, trumpet bines, butterfly bushes, weigela, Joe Pye weed, tic seed, coneflowers, nine-bark, serviceberry, honeysuckle trumpet vine, climbing roses, asters, bleeding heart, hollyhocks, lilies, iris, hydrangea, coreopsis, delphinium, salvia and verbenum. Ninety-percent of the flowers are perennials.
Trees on the property include Wolfe River apple, crab apple, maple, mulberry, chock cherry, high bush cranberry, redbud and a variety of willows, including corkscrew, globe, weeping willow and dappled willow, and several varieties of oak.
The Berklands have a yard that attracts pollinators and provides habitat and food for winged wildlife.