"I'm not interested in production and design as much as creating habitat," says Tamra. She has a special penchant for plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Butterfly bushes, sunflowers and coneflowers grow alongside her new passion, ornamental grasses. The grasses in particular provide feed and nesting material for her feathered friends. The seed heads and foliage also add winter interest to her landscape. "I enjoy the look of the grasses during the fall and winter months, then cut down them down in spring in time for the new growth to emerge," she adds.
Tamra's secret for keeping all these plants healthy is compost. Not wanting to purchase compost each year, she produces her own. "At first I tried composting in rubber bins, but found they were too small and it took too long to get usable compost. Then I tried using homemade, open bins, but my dogs would get into the piles and make a mess," she says. Two years ago Tamra tried the Tumbling Compost Mixer. The enclosed bin is mounted on a frame that allows it to tumble, mixing the compost ingredients. "I love it. The black color absorbs heat, so in one month I can take raw organic matter and turn it into finished compost," she says. "I even put shredded paper in it. It's a great way to recycle old bills and credit card offers," she adds. Tamra finds the bins need little attention other than a few spins every other day and watering during dry spells.