Thursday, May 31, 2012

Splish splash, they'll be taking a bath...

Every summer I wander around and photograph the various birdbaths we have in our yard.
2008's post is here; 2011's post is here.
(Excuse the yard photos - we haven't put down new bark mulch yet, which the yard desperately needs. We'll see if the budget allows for some later this summer.)

There used to be 3 birds on this one. Over the years, two of the birds fell off and were probably raked up with leaves in the fall and tossed out by mistake. So now, this one little fellow sits and waits for friends to come and set for a spell...

He used to hang from an oak tree branch next to our deck. Sadly, we lost that branch in last October's freak snowstorm, so this year he's been moved to the patio.

This waterfall fountain sits on the patio. It gets a lot of squirrel and chipmunk action.

The squirrels and chipmunks also love this small gazing ball birdbath that sits next to the swing set deck.

The finish on this birdbath has become mottled and has taken on a greenish tint, even though the water is clear.

It sits in the backyard between the gate and the garden angel.

These three little cherubs patiently say their prayers while waiting for the birds to come pay them a visit.

This little birdbath hangs from the cherry tree in the backyard.

Another little bird is perched on the rim of this small mosaic birdbath.

This bath sits in "the secret garden," an unkempt, overgrown area next to our backyard shed. The birds really enjoy this bath, probably because it is so private.

This fountain birdbath sits on the deck. It seems a Japanese Beetle is enjoying the water bubbling out of the top and running down the sides.

This is the heated birdbath, attached to the deck railing by the backyard. In the wintertime it gets plugged in and moved to a part of the deck visible from the dining room window.

If the birds were voting for their #1 birdbaths, all of the following would tie for first place. This is just a large green plastic saucer/drip tray from an oversized pot. It's deep and wide, and the birds love to bathe and splash around in it. This one sits in the front yard under one of our hoppa crab apple trees...

...but we have another in the backyard, next to the girls' old tree house (now the gnome home).

Our cement pedestal birdbath developed a crack a few years ago. We've 'patched' it and it has held water temporarily, but for the last two years I've just placed a large, inexpensive "chip" bowl from the Christmas Tree shop in the basin. And the birds l-o-v-e it.

In fact, the birds love these large baths so much that I stocked up last year (I think they were $1 or $2 each at CTS)...

... and I've put them all over the backyard.

 This one sits between Mary and garden bunny, next to the shed (and you can just make out the base of the "secret garden" birdbath in the background!)...

Another sits on top of this tree stump. (We salvaged this large piece of the trunk from the huge, gorgeous maple tree that we lost, another casualty of last October's snowstorm.)

And the last one sits on an old metal table in the front yard under the window box by the garden gate.

I hope you're all enjoying lovely weather. It's been gorgeous here in the Northeast!

I'm linking up to the Cottage Garden Party at the beautiful Fishtail Cottage
and to Show & Tell Friday at the lovely My Romantic Home.


Friday, May 25, 2012

DIY Screen Feeder - Flower Box

 Since I had a couple of questions, I thought I'd clarify some information regarding yesterday's post, where I showed how I use our bird seed screenfeeder as a 'window box' in the summertime. I purchased our screen feeder on-line (I don't remember where, but if you do a Google Shopping search for "screen feeder tray," you are bound to find some! I'm sure a local bird store would carry them, and perhaps even larger nursery or garden centers.)

As I mentioned, I just plunk the flowers down in their original (lightweight) containers, right on the screen feeder, as I don't think the screen feeder would stand up to the weight of flowers that have been transplanted into pots (due to the weight of the pots and all the extra soil).

I decided to experiment with lavender this year because I love the scent.

I'm not sure how the lavender will do because a) this window is not an extremely sunny spot, and b) I've never used these biodegradable pots before, just sitting out on their own without being planted in the ground or a bigger container. They may end up needing more watering than the plastic 6-pack pots I've used in the past. I"ll keep you posted.

I may not be sure how the lavender will perform, but I do know from years past that impatiens lend themselves to this method so I used them around the lavender pots. I was able to use complete 6-packs in front of the lavender...

...but there wasn't enough room for a complete 6-pack on each side of the lavender so I just used my scissors to cut one of the plastic 6-pack pots in half so they'd fit on each side.

Here's a sample of last year's 6 packs at the beginning of June, shortly after I'd plunked them down on the screen feeder. I also stuck a vinca vine pot into the front corners. As you can see, the vinca vine isn't very long and the black plastic 6-pack pots are still visible.

But just 5 weeks later, by July 5th when this picture was taken, the Vinca Vine was almost down to the ground and the flowers had cascaded over the sides of their little black 6-pack pots.

I use the same "planting method" with these old vintage planters that I have on our Swingset Deck. I just plop 6-packs of impatiens down in the planters and rearrange them until I like the color arrangement...

... and voila! This photo was taken on July 8th, 5 weeks after they were first plopped down. They absolutely thrive in just their original little 6-pack pots!

The most important thing is to make sure they're watered every single day. I sometimes even water twice during our horrendous heatwaves here in New England. I've toyed with the idea of using Spanish moss or Sphagnum moss underneath the 6 packs on both the screen feeder and in these planters, but I've never gotten around to actually trying it. That might keep the bottoms more moist, but that's just a guess on my part.

So good luck to anyone who tries this! I'd love to know what other types of flowers work well with this method. I know I can vouch for impatiens!

(Sammy Squirrel giving thanks for the bounty he is about to receive. Amen.)

And I know I am going to get out and enjoy our little backyard this summer because all too soon the screen feeder will be filled with seed, cracked corn, and suet rather than flowers (brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!)

Happy gardening!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Easy Peasy Flower Box

It's finally warm enough to plant and put out annuals here in New England!

I love window boxes. Unfortunately our house doesn't have any.

But what it does have is a screen feeder mounted to the dining room window.

And while it holds seed during the winter months for our feathered friends....

and Sammy Squirrels...

... come springtime I reclaim the screen feeder as a window box!

This year I thought it might be nice to have the scent of lavender wafting through the windows...

 So I placed lavender closest to the window and surrounded it with 
the most hardy of my summer friends, impatiens.

 As long as they are watered daily, I've had wonderful luck with just placing 
six-packs and garden containers right on the screen feeder.
(Look at the clematis buds on top of the arbor! They'll be putting on their show soon!)

This was 2011's screen feeder with nothing but impatiens.

 The year before, in 2010, I put calibrachoa on the feeder.

And in 2009, our first summer with the screen feeder, I plopped down 6 packs of double impatiens.

So time will tell how I like the lavender and impatiens combination. So far, so good. I know I can count on the impatiens to flourish as they are the EASIEST annual for me (no dead-heading & no fertilizing - just once a day watering). Hopefully the lavender will be equally easy to care for in this unique "window box" setting.

I hope you are all enjoying beautiful weather, wherever you are!


I've given a more detailed description of this method in this DIY post, if you are interested in trying it yourself:
 DIY Screen Feeder - Flower Box

I'm linking to a Cottage Garden Party at Fishtail Cottage
I'm also linking to Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Climbing the stairway to heaven...

Lovely, sweet, luscious blue clematis... now winding its way up the light post.

... climbing toward the heavens.

Oh, how I wish these beauties bloomed all summer long...

 ... But I suppose the fact that they are here for such a short period of time makes them all the more special!

 I'm linking to Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home.

Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day...

 Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

 (click any photos to enlarge)

 Just a little rambling post today... 

This is one of a small collection of Mother Mottos/Samplers I've purchased over the years since losing my mom in 1996 (I think I have a total of about eight).

Every once in a while I'm drawn to something that reminds me of my mom, so I have a small collection of Mother Mottos and books. I purchased this particular little book about 12 years ago on eBay. It was a very well read copy of "Mother" by Edgar Guest  (I already had a small collection of his poetry books, but this one appealed to me because it was all Mother poems).

This book has a place of honor on one of the shelves in our family room bookcase.

It's hardly a pristine version, but I've come to realize how that makes it all the more special. And perhaps because of this book I am all the more drawn to aged, well used, worn, vintage pieces.

I'm so ashamed of myself, though, when I think of my original reaction to this book. Although I knew when I purchased it that it was old and used, when I actually received it, I was so disappointed. The condition of the book was much shabbier than I had expected. 

I contacted the eBay seller, letting her know of my disappointment. She sent me the loveliest email, telling me the history of this lovely little book and a bit about the life of her amazing grandmother who had owned and loved this book. After reading the entire email (much longer than what I have shown above), I came to realize what a treasure I was holding in my hands. This was a prized possession of a very special lady, and I feel very connected to this book. The seller ended by offering me my money back if I was unhappy with my purchase. Needless to say, I kept this little gem and left her glowing feedback. 

I also printed her email and tucked it into the front of the book so I will always be reminded, in all situations, to never judge a book by its cover.

(copyright 1925, the year before my mother was born)

When I came into my office this morning, this card was laying on top of my keyboard from my Amanda. I absolutely LOVE it, both the image and the quotation!. Amanda, who is both an avid writer and reader, tells me it is because I read to she and her sister every night when they were growing up. I have to admit, it was my absolute favorite time of each day. (A bit later today we will be getting together with Courtney. I can't wait!)

 This card will be tacked to the bulletin board next to my desk which contains (in addition to work items) mostly sentimental materials (photos, the girls' artwork, cards, etc.) As a matter of fact, the b&w card in the center is another card Amanda gave me a few years back of a mother reading to her two little girls! An old Mother's motto that hangs beneath my mom's painting (painted by Amanda in college) reads:

This is my loving Wish for you...
A flower-lined path Your whole Life through.

Isn't that the sweetest sentiment and painting?

So, my dear sweet Mom, Happy Mother's Day to you! You will always be our beloved Mom, Nana, and always our beautiful Galway Girl... 
We all love you so very much!

Love, Donna