Total Pageviews

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - December 2013

 As usual, I had completely forgotten today, being the 15th of the month, was Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.  Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, or GBBD is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens and I only remembered about it when I saw a GBBD post on a blog I follow by Dorothy at Gardening with Nature.

Before I even read Dorothy's post, I had "rescued" a newly emerged Monarch butterfly that was lying on the ground near the bird baths I was filling.  It didn't look so good and when I put my hand down to it, it climbed on board.  So with this butterfly sitting on my hand, I looked frantically around the garden looking for a flower with some nectar for him.

Luckily I discovered that although most of the Dallas Red Lantana has succumbed to the freeze we had at Thanksgiving, there were still a few blooms in the sheltered area underneath the Southern Wax Myrtle.  I put the butterfly there and hoped he would be okay.

 Then I read Dorothy's post and saw that, among many other plants she has blooming, she happened to have some hanging baskets of pansies.  It occurred to me that pansies would be a simple addition, they would offer some color in the garden that would probably last until spring and they would also offer nectar to any other butterflies that happen to pass through.  

So I hit the road to Lowe's and was pleasantly surprised to find that they hadn't completely cleared out the garden center and filled it with Christmas trees, as many places do.  I purchased some 12 packs of different colored pansies and headed home.

Incidentally, as I drove back into my subdivision, I saw a Monarch butterfly floating around the pansies planted in the bed at the entrance.  I like to think it was the one I had "rescued" earlier in the day.

I planted them in containers, among the frostbitten Lantana I'm hoping will come back in the spring, and I planted them in the island bed.

Not much, I'm afraid, but more than I had in the garden 12 hours ago -- and the nice thing is, they will last well into the spring.

Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

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

Project Feeder Watch

 One of the things I have enjoyed the past couple of winters is being able to participate in Project Feeder Watch, a citizen science project organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 

It's very simple to participate, there are just a few easy steps.

1) Choose your count site -- in my case, it was my own back yard, but I could also count at places like Kleb Woods where they have feeders if I wanted to, I suppose.

2) Choose your count days.  You have to select two consecutive days -- obviously, for me, the weekends are the natural count days.  The Feeder Watch program runs from November 9th through April 14 and you can count as often as every week if you wish.

3) To count the birds, you need to count the number of birds that are visible at one time.  So if you see three birds together, and then another two later on, you would log three, not five birds.  My problem was trying to count the number of house sparrows, of which there seemed to be hundreds, but I think I counted them out to 23 along the wall - by far the most prevelent bird in the garden this winter.

4) As the project is called "Project Feeder Watch", you have to make sure you only count birds that are attracted by your feeders, birdbaths, or other habitat you provide. So things like the these geese I photographed flying overhead back in November wouldn't be counted.

Nor would these Mourning doves, as they sit on the telephone wires.

But I *was* able to include this Cooper's Hawk who visited twice over the Thanksgiving weekend. 

OK so he was probably more attracted by the birds at the feeders than the actual feeders, but he was there, on the bird bath and he stayed long enough for me to walk up to within eight feet of him snapping photos, so I counted him!

I think the sparrow who had been holding his breath under the Savannah holly breathed a sigh of relief when I took a step too close and the hawk flew away. 

Find learn more about Project Feeder Watch and how to join in, visit

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