A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Monday, July 18, 2005

Wildlife in the Garden

Sabine was wondering if she should move her birdbath. It sits out in the open in full sun. She says no birds ever use it. I actually did research on the placement of birdbaths once. All the so-called "experts" say birdbaths should be placed in the open so predators (such as cats) cannot use vegetation to sneak up on the birds. Birds don't fly well when their feathers are wet. They need to be able to see predators in time to make their getaway. So Sabine is doing everything right.

I, on the other hand, am doing everything wrong. My birdbath sits in a shady corner surrounded by plants that a cat could easily use as cover to sneak up on it. Even the fence that surrounds it is no help because a cat could easily climb it to get at any bird that was perching there. And they do perch there, waiting to use the birdbath. It is in constant use. I refill it every day. The neighbors think I am being concientious about standing water and mosquitoes but the truth is that the birds splash most of the water out of it every day. There is even a robin that I swear has OCD. He will splash around in the water, then perch on the edge and preen his feathers. When he finds a spot that he missed, he hops back into the bowl and splashes some more. Perch, preen, splash. Perch, preen, splash. Over and over again. He has to be the cleanest robin in the neighborhood.

Every once in a while I click on "Who Links Here". Last night I was pleasantly surprised to find several blogs linking me that I was unaware of. Thank you! I have reciprocated. I'm always looking for good gardening blogs so I did some reading. There seems to be one universal truism about gardeners. We care not just about the plants in our gardens, but also the wildlife that make their homes there. Sabine recently wrote about a magical moment with a hummingbird . Kerry, of Kerry's Garden , wrote at length about handraising baby rabbits orphaned in her strawberry patch and The Garden Keeper, of A Garden by the Ruins near Narberth , wrote of his own magical experience witnessing the maiden flights of some fledgling chickadees .

What's blooming now?

Candy Striped Zinnias in the New World Garden. Not exactly heirlooms, but fond memories from my childhood. According to Burpee, they are red stripes on white flowers so I'm not sure what happened to this one:

My hollyhocks have not done well this year. I don't know if it is because I moved them or that they just don't like their new location.
A little blurry, but I like the color. Maroon with a hint of red. These are not the black hollyhocks. The morning glories have started to bloom.

This is a Grandpa Ott morning glory. If you don't know the story already, there actually was a Grandpa Ott. He was originally from eastern Europe, Czechoslovakia I believe, and brought seeds for this morning glory with him when he came to America. Every time someone visited him, he would send them home with a handful of seeds. After his death, his granddaughter wanted to preserve these heirloom seeds. They sparked an interest in heirlooms for her and the famous Seed Savers Exchange was born. These are planted on either side of the door to my shed and not in the Purple Garden as you would imagine. Instead, there are Milky Way morning glories growing in the Purple Garden:

They reseed themselves all over the Purple Garden every year. And every year, I carefully transplant the seedlings back to trellis. But more and more keep popping up until I start to feel like the little Dutch boy trying to plug the leaky dike. By this time each year, I throw in the trowel and just let them ramble all over the garden.


At 2:44 PM, Blogger Kasmira said...

I awoke Saturday morning to at least 100 morning glory seedlings in one of my lasagna beds. I guess they traveled there with the grass clippings. I pulled about 25 the next day. I expect a few more babies will be waiting for me again today.

At 6:17 PM, Blogger Sylvana said...

I have my birdbath out in the open and the birds use it- well mostly the blue jays. It might be her birdbath. Birds perfer a certain depth and size for taking a bath.


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