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Monday, March 18, 2013

The Birdbath Garden

I'm eager for the action to get started in the garden, but there's not that much happening out there.  Things that are in full bloom in the nurseries and garden center are annoyingly bloom-less in our garden.

Looking out over the back garden, my eye unfailing is drawn to the eyesore left by the pine tree, where the stump was ground (one day I'll think of something to do with that -- I wish they had left the actual stump, it would have been easier to make it a "feature")

But once I can get over that, there *are* some patches of color in the garden - mostly in the two back corners.  In one, the "birdbath garden" my containers seem to be doing well.  The Babylon white verbena has been blooming strongly all winter and continues to do so, as do the "Cool Wave" pansies. 

I'm looking forward to seeing these lilies bloom.  As you can see, the markers have completely faded, so I have no idea what they are.  I hope that when they bloom, I'll be able to identify them.

The birds love this corner too, not only for the birdbath, but because they can peck around on the ground for seeds that get blown off the wall, where I sprinkle the bird seed each morning. Some mornings it seems like there's 20 or more sparrows out there. Sometimes just Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal.

In the other corner of the garden, the other splash of color is provided by more verbena - the Homestead purple verbena.   

A closeup view reveals some Achillea in the back of the bed. I planted the Achillea all over the garden two or three years around and this is the only patch that has survived.  I think it likes its little protected spot under the vitex tree and up against the wall.  It's getting ready to bloom.

I'm sort of itching to get gardening, but Eric and I are heading out of town, so my plans will have to wait.  I'll tell you about it when we get back next week.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Project Feeder Watch

This weekend, I'm once again participating in Project Feeder Watch, which is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America.

I have to admit that, as often as I sit on the patio and watch the birds at the feeders, this year I had forgotten to submit my data to Project Feeder Watch until now, just a couple of weeks before the 2012/13 season ends!

I'm happy to report that I saw two birds today that I haven't seen in a while -- a Red Bellied Woodpecker and the Carolina Chickadee.

I've been lamenting the fact that we no longer have a mature pine tree in the garden to attract "Woody" but I heard him drumming on something this morning in the predawn hours, so I knew he was around somewhere.

I was very happy when I heard his familiar call as I sat on the patio, taking a break from weeding. Just a moment or two later, he landed on the wall, chasing away a White Winged Dove in the process, and helped himself to the seed and nuts I always sprinkle along the top of the wall.

Another bird I heard before I saw was the Carolina Chickadee (actually there were two of them).

I was pulling weeds and heard a call that I actually mistook for something else. It was only when I stood up and tried to locate the sound that I realized it was a Chickadee. It sounded like one was scolding the other as they both flitted around, first in the Wax Myrtle and then in the Crepe Myrtle.

I'm very happy with these photographs I took with my new Nikon Coolpix, it seems the perfect camera for bringing the birds closer with its 42X zoom lens, I've spent quite a lot of time with it since my hubby gave it to me for Christmas.

Northern Cardinals have been regular visitors ever since we moved in. We've had several pairs around, nesting in the wooded habitat either side of us which is now replaced by houses.

I'm glad they still visit, even if they have ignored the nesting shelf we put up for them. (I realize now that the nesting shelf, attached to the fence at eye level, is probably way too low and vulnerable for them - I need to find somewhere else for it.)

I was hoping to get a photo of her splashing around in the birdbath, but she declined, preferring instead to stand on the rim and stare at me before flying back to the feeder.

The Chipping Sparrows have been with us all winter. Usually there are at least ten of them, jockeying for position to get at the seed I sprinkle along the fence. Today, I just saw this one - not a true representation of our local winter population.

I'm hoping that when I submit my Second Day data tomorrow, I'll be able to enter a decent number and bring my average up!

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.