Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hungry birds

I'm easily amused. I can watch the birds at my suet feeder for hours. Well not hours, but for a long time. It's hysterical. I have a very cool suet feeder that is a feeder within a cage. This gadget prevents big birds like Jays & Starlings from stealing all the suet.
Finches, Kinglets & Bushtits can easily squeeze through the outer cage to get to the goodies.
It's comical to watch the Juncos, a ground feeding bird wait around to pick up the crumbs falling below.
I thought this feeder would out smart all of the bigger birds from hogging all the suet. I guess I underestimated the neighborhood Flicker. This bird is a little larger than a Robin with a little longer neck, white shoulders & a brown throat. They feed on ants, berries & seeds. Seeking out these kinds of food sources make Flickers very ingenious. As I watched the Flicker arrive at the feeder, he seemed puzzled. He moved around the outer cage of the feeder, trying to figure out a way to get to the suet.
He finally figured out that the center cage was a bit closer to the far side of the outer cage.
This is where his longer neck became his greatest asset.
He was able to stretch his neck through the outer cage to reach the suet.
It was a sight. I was impressed.
He did scare away all the little birds, but I didn't have the heart to shoo him away.
He had worked hard & earned his lunch.

Take Care,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Winter Cleaning?

Ah...the first lawn mowing of the season. Yep. I did that today, along with a plethora of other things in my gardens. My Pauwlonia Tomentosa was never intended to get blooms in my garden. I want the huge tropical leaves only, so I pollard it each spring, both to keep the blooms off and the leaves huge. Check. It's always amazing to me how fast it grows...15 feet in one year! That girl wants to grow!
As I pruned off last years remaining branches, leaves and growth on many of my perennials...I was really surprised to see them already growing...even a couple of hostas! Don't they know it is still February?
I also opened up one of my outdoor living rooms...some animals...stray cats, possums or perhaps raccoons, had decided the couch out there was as comfortable as we humans do. It's alright; a little elbow grease and the muddy stains will come right off. I thought about working on several fountains too (I think a garden without water features is like a garden without plants!) but it was still a little chilly for me to be knee deep in musty, moldy, rotting leafy water! Still...if the nice weather continues....
I did promise last fall that I would tell everyone about my palm tree protection I have to? Really?
Well, it was utter failure! All three of them are as dead as a door nail, I have never understood that phrase, but you get the idea. It's always difficult to know who to trust, and so many people have so many different experiences; sometimes you just gotta go for it yourself and see what happens. Instead of beating myself up too much though, I chose to see it as a chance to plant three different things this year...and plant them I will!
I also noticed that my Salix Magnifica was already budding out. If you have not seen this plant you must find it. I think I got mine at Dancing Oaks Nursery. Heck of a drive but so worth the effort! Very large oval leaves follow the biggest catkins I have ever seen. Truly a unique specimen.
Spring in the garden is always about racing to to get the last years leaves raked up before the new plants emerge or I might damage the tender new growth. Racing to prune off last years remnants for the same reason. Racing everything cleaned up before the spring bulbs force themselves up. Racing to get pre-emergent down before the evil villainous weeds take hold. Racing to mulch. Racing to get the veggie area ready....but all that racing pays off for months to follow. Because summer will afford those most lazy of days where you set in a chair or lay in a hammock having the beverage of your choice and start dreaming about all the things that might have been and that you want to do....Happy dreams my friends....and ...
Happy Gardening!

P.S. Don't forget the new season of Garden Time starts March 6th! Check your local listings for the times...see you then.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Getting Dirty

With spring right around the corner everyone is gearing up for the warmer weather. One of our close friends is Donna Wright from Black Gold and she is doing more than your regular spring cleaning. In the past she has shown us how to plant up pots and baskets with the Black Gold product but she also grows sedums with her daughter Becky. They also build and sell Hypertufa pots for their sedums.

If you don’t know, hypertufa is light weight cement pots. We had the pleasure of joining friends and family for a Hypertufa Day at Donna’s house recently. It was a blast!

We had nearly a dozen people working in stations to build hundreds of containers. Some were outside working the mixer with all the ingredients and others were inside prepping containers or filling and shaping them with the cement mixture. Even with a short break for lunch, we were done in just a few short hours.

If you are interested in trying to build your own hypertufa containers you can check out this story from the Garden Time archive.

Hypertufa –

Good Luck,
Garden Time Producer