… from her long journey across the Gulf of Mexico!!! It never ceases to amaze me that the a creature so tiny can fly so far. My garden is once more magical … with the arrival of Rose … my bejeweled hummingbird!
I am sad … so sad … A neighbor cut down major trees in his natural conservation buffers - against the covenants and restrictions of my community. But I shall not rant about that … it’s too late …
A distraught bluejay high up in the trees lining my driveway was watching the devastation and calling for help. Her nest was in one of those huge trees that were felled in an instant. There was no denying her plaintive cry. My heart hurts for her …
How many other nests were destroyed today? How many baby squirrels and baby birds died simply because some imbecile decided to destroy protected habitat simply because he didn’t like the way old trees look?
I am so excited!!! I have a Northern saw-whet owl in my back woods. I have never heard a sound like that. It is soooo loud. I have waited so long for an owl to come into my natural conservation buffer :) It’s 10 p.m. … Happy dreams everyone!!!
The fire was quite frightening and I live quite a bit away. Looking out my front door I could see the heavy clouds of smoke and the sky had an errie glow. I couldn’t stay outside too long because the smell of smoke was acrid and I was afraid of an asthma attack. But what really boggled my mind was to see burnt leaves and particles on my back terrace, as well as traces of ash.
As I was walking along my garden path, my arms laden with leftovers from the fridge, en route to offering an “Easter Brunch” to my ever-growing crow family … composed of the largest crows that I have ever seen … I was amazed at the stillness - not a bird or squirrel in sight!
And, then, I heard this strange sound and when I looked up, there were two magnificent hawks circling my wildlife garden … I suppose looking for their own “Easter Brunch.” I watched in awe as they circled and flew their dihedrals in the sky.
At first, I thought that they were two males fighting over their territory but my instinct said otherwise. I think they were a mating pair and the call was to me to “get out of my garden!!!”
Wildlife advocate, Maria Daddino, receives first honorable mention at the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival and two nominations for the 2012 Global eBook Awards for her “Maria’s Duck Tales” … to read more click the link above.
What a difference a year makes. Last winter, I impatiently counted down the days until spring and, this year, spring’s arrival almost surprised me! And, yesterday, as I meandered along my garden paths, a black swallowtail butterfly and an unidentifiable “friend” amazed me with their tentative flights of fancy.
Just after dawn, I found a fledgling and motionless bluejay on my terrace, probaby stunned from flying into the window. Emmie Lou, the wild cat, was sitting next to him, a quizical look on her face. I watched for a minute or so, glad to see that my wild cat was not such a good hunter. Perhaps, my plan to keep her well fed with gourmet cat food is working.
I gently picked up the bluejay, warmed him and put him in my bird holding cage and within an hour or so, he was vigorously flapping his wings. Time to be released … time for that lump in my throat … that feeling of awe I always experience … as I watch another wild thing fly skyward.
American goldfinches, brown thrashers, gray titmice, black and white chickadees and red cardinals fill my early morning garden … their colors aglow in the early morning sun … a beautiful contrast to the pinks, yellows, whites and purples of my native flowers.
Noontime finds the swallowtails - black and tiger - dining on my butterfly bushes. The monarchs appeared today - gliding and swooping, diving and soaring. Hardly stopping to alight on the tip of a flower, they seem to be enamored of the pure freedom of flight!
Later on as I sit quietly, a pair of baby rock doves … mourning doves … plays on my terrace not too far from me while baby bluejays scream loudly for their dinner. Grackles are noisily bathing on the ledges of the waterfall and the sun seems to be highlighting the hydrangeas that cascade over the pond.
A bunny is nibbling on clover. The turkey poults are getting big and are enjoying the cracked corn. An exuberant chipmunk is darting out from underneath the flowers …
I absolutely love to see deer in my wildlife garden! After all, isn’t that what a wildlife garden is all about? Creating an environment for all wildlife?
So, it is with some degree of sadness that I see article after article written about keeping deer out of wildlife gardens but very few about inviting these beautiful creatures in.
Deer visit my garden daily. I can thrill at the sight of a magnificent ten-point buck roaming my garden paths. And, I can watch close-up, the bond between a delicate doe and her twin fawns.
And, after they leave, I still have a beautiful garden. In fact, my wildlife garden has been on display in several garden tours. And, the questions asked are always the same: “How can you have deer in your garden and still have flowers and lush growth?”
My answer is really very simple: With just a little forethought and planning, I found that I could have my cake and eat it too!
Start by reading all the articles you can about deer resistant plants -there are some very good ones around. Then incorporate them into your unique garden plan. For example, when I needed privacy on the perimeter of my property, I used “Green Giant” arborvitae. Green giants live up to their name, grow faster than Leyland cypress, make a beautiful hedge and are quite deer resistant.
I spray “my” garden – the one near my terrace and the one in which I have lots of plants that are “candy” for the deer – with one of the good, natural deer repellents. And, since deer – like us – are creatures of habit, after a few forays, they stay away from the “smelly-to-them” garden.
I left the perimeters of my property untouched. It is my natural conservation buffer. Pines, oaks, bayberries and native low-bush blueberries abound, providing food for all wildlife. In front of the back buffer, which is the one the deer primarily use to come and go, I have planted many species of native plants – viburnums, in particular - and a few non-natives – hydrangea, hosta, azaleas, loosestrife - all plants that I know the deer love. I get them on sale in the fall and feel it is well worth the money spent. By the time my beautiful deer walk into my flowering garden, they are pretty full!
Also, in the wooded buffer, I always have a full bowl of cracked corn. It is for all the wildlife to enjoy and the deer do indulge at certain times of the year.
Pictures of my garden and the wildlife who visit are on Flickr. You can see first-hand that it is possible to have both a beautiful garden and visiting deer.
Thunderstorms, hibiscus and a frenetic Baltimore oriole ...
It’s threatening to storm. Loud claps of thunder can be heard nearby and, of course, the wind has picked up. And, so, at first, I didn’t think too much about my fifteen-year-old apricot hibiscus standard blowing in the wind. But it was shaking far more than the tall oaks and pines buffers that border my home. And then, a wonderful surprise … a male Baltimore oriole was frantically eating something … aphids, maybe? … on my hibiscus. Ohhh … the wonders of nature. Who needs chemicals when we have colorful birds????
Yea!!! I saw my first bunny of the year enjoying the greenery in my garden. He was huge, and, of course, I did not have my camera with me. I thought I caught glimpses of him before this but I just couldn’t be sure. He was probably ensconced in his comfy burrow - which, one year, I found right next to my house! Pretty smart … I’ll bet it was toasty warm all winter!!!