Fall reFresh

After days of rain & being inside, I find the urge to bust the blues by adding some fall color to the garden. Especially when I can add that splash of color right outside the window for all to enjoy. One of my fall favorites is Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender.’ This plant is in the mint family and boasts an abundance of attractive lavender flowers which bloom over a long period of time. This hardy plant will last until frost.

As is typical of plants in the mint family, this plant has square stems, opposite leaves and tubular, two-lipped flowers. In this case, each group of flowers are presented on long 6” spikes surrounded by glossy, dark green leaves with a hint of purple underneath. This lovely plant enjoys moist, well-drained soils and partial shade. One note: it will help to remove flower spikes after blooms have finished.

It is readily available & commonly sold as a hanging basket which makes changing the over-grown summer hanging baskets for theseTSG, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Fall Garden Flowers fresh new fall baskets super simple, while providing instant gratification for the cooped up garden lover.

The special benefit is that it also provides late-season nectar for migrating Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. An important eco-service in our Certified Wildlife Habitat, as well as a source of entertainment for our whole family.

Hope you are enjoying this beautiful fall weather, too.

Happy Gardening!

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Bluebird on CWF Sign 4-2016A Wildlife Habitat continues to attract new faces, year after year.

Since certifying our yard as a Wildlife Habitat in 2009, we have seen many species of local wildlife including birds, amphibians, mammals & insects. As we care for and enjoy our habitat year after year, we are pleasantly rewarded with an increased variety of visitors.

Lately, we have been especially surprised by several new feathered faces. Not only are we currently being visited by Eastern Bluebirds for the first time, but today, we also saw our first ever
Black-Throated Blue Warbler (below). What a wonderful treat!
Black-Throated Blue Warbler, How to attract birds to your garden, backyard habitat
Watch the video below, as an Indigo Bunting enjoys a water course that was added to the pond last spring.

These shallow waters are perfect
for drinking, bathing and preening
all-year long.

Maintaining a wildlife habitat in your backyard has long-lasting benefits. Being engaged with nature can improve your mood and your health, as well as provide entertainment & education for your whole family. The longer you maintain your habitat, the more species you will have the pleasure of seeing & learning about.

Who is visiting your backyard habitat this Spring?

Happy Gardening!

 

Spring is here!

NWF Nestlings CoverRoll out the Welcome Mat
The Nesting Season is upon us. Here’s how you can help our native birds and their broods.

  • Provide nesting boxes, trees, thickets and/or dense brush.
  • Nesting birds need extra protein, for themselves and their young. Offer a variety of nuts and seeds in your feeders. 96% of birds rely on insects to feed their young. Maintain a healthy garden with a variety of insects. Avoid herbicides and pesticides.
  • Fresh water is essential for birds. This can be provided by a bird bath, fountain or pond. Remember, birds need a shallow place to sit in the water so that they can drink, wash and preen their feathers safely. Hummingbirds will not enter water that is greater than 1/4″ deep.

Tells us in the comments, What elements do you or will you provide for our native birds this nesting season?

Happy Spring!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

DSC00671Roses are Red
These Birds are Blue
So Happy to Start
This Day with You!

I hope you are having a lovely Valentine’s Day morning. My husband and I got up early this morning to enjoy a cup of coffee together before making a special Valentine’s Day breakfast for our teenage daughters.

As we woke slowly, we noticed some new friends at the feeder. Their unmistakable colors gave them away. I quickly grabbed my camera while my husband enjoyed watching these Easter Bluebirds eating from our feeders and drinking from the backyard pond.

They stayed for several hours. When the kids got up, we all enjoyed watching these symbols of happiness while we ate our special holiday breakfast. Complete with heart-shaped pancakes. We enjoyed their visit immensely. It reminded us of all the fun we had monitoring a Bluebird Trail last summer. A very warm thought on this very cold day.

These are the times when our family is rewarded for keeping our feeders filled and for providingDSC00696 fresh, unfrozen water during the winter. These items are vital to our overwintering birds and wildlife. Luckily for the Bluebirds, meal worms were on the menu. A staple in their diet.

I like how this guy is eyeing the frog, as if it might jump in and join him for a drink.

DSC00700This little lady seems to be multi-tasking by bathing and drinking at the same time. Two birds, one stone.

We do not normally see Eastern Bluebirds in our backyard habitat for more than a fly-by, but today they came and spent all morning, delighting us all with their presence.

What a perfect gift of happiness on a day dedicated to love.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my Soulful Friends!

Feathered Fatherhood

Watch the loving care this father gives his baby

It’s that time of year when the birds are nesting and rearing their young. I kept hearing a baby bird out my window. I snuck up with my camera and this is what I found.
Click here to learn more about “How to attract birds to your garden.”

Click here to see the video. Cardinal feeding his baby

Enjoy!

Please “Like”, “Share” & “Forward” 

Happy (Bluebird) Trails to You

Bluebird monitoring, Rifleford Rd, spring ephemerals, skunk cabbage 027

I have always been happiest outside, even as a little girl. I love the melody of the birds, the breeze on my skin and the smell of the air. When I am in and surrounded by nature, I feel like I am home. So, when a call for volunteers went out to our listserv for Bluebird Trail Monitors in our area, I jumped at the chance.
The information collected while monitoring the Bluebird Trail will be sent to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. We will be taking detailed records of this year’s nest box inhabitants and the success of their broods. Read more here.

Nature’s Daily Gift

Each day, I take time to meditate in nature. That is where I find peace & inspiration. Today’s mantra was ” I behold the abundance that surrounds me.” I truly believe that we are all surrounded by blessings. Many of us, however, are not trained to notice them. We are so busy. So plugged in. Often believing that “busyness” is the same as productivity. But rushing around and multi-tasking can often distract us from the very miracles we are meant to discover. Revelations that only happen when we take a few moments to breathe consciously & observe the simple wonders that surround us.bird, common flicker 045 Nature never fails to reveal blessings, if you take the time to notice.

When I opened my eyes after mediation, this is what I saw. A pair of Yellow-Shafted Common Flickers who were snacking on ants in the path. The male is the one with the “mustache.” First attracted by the moving water in the pond, they seemed to have settled in nearby and came back for a bite to eat.

Nature always reveals pleasant surprises in our backyard habitat. I encourage you to take some time outside today to enjoy some slow, conscious breaths and see what you discover. Be sure to let me know below.

Common Flicker yellow-shafted Talk (1)

 

Meditative Mourning Dove

Moving water attracts birds to your garden

Look who came by the pond today? It’s getting warmer outside and I do believe Spring weather is finally getting closer. We are always surprised to see just who visits our backyard pond. Today, it was a peaceful Mourning Dove who was just relaxing by the water’s edge.Mourning Dove in water feature, birds 002

Last year, a Mourning Dove took a bath in our water fountain. It floated on a lilypad and started to do what looked like calisthenics, slowly lifting one wing way up to the sky and then the other. Like a Mourning stretch.

To learn more, click “How to Attract Birds to your Garden

Happy Gardening!

Creating your own Certified Wildlife Habitat is fun for the whole family and great for the enviornment

NWF Nestlings CoverLet me show you how easy it is to attract pollinators, birds & wildlife to your own backyard. It will be a constant source of entertainment and education for the whole family.

Don’t forget, I’ll be talking about gardening to attract birds at The Wild Bird Center in Gaithersburg. Call 301-330-9453, to reserve your free seat.

Happy Gardening!

TSG Photos at Quince Orchard Library

Dear Soulful Friends,

I am very excited to let you know that you can view photos from The Soulful Gardner at the Quince Orchard Library located at 15831 Quince Orchard Rd, North Potomac, MD 20878.

I love to capture beautiful moments in the garden and in nature. Sharing those imagesIMG_1999
 with you gives me great pleasure. This is just the first of many shows that I plan to bring to you in the future. It is another way that I will fulfill my mission “to bring people plants and nature together for health and well-being.”

If you would like to bring a “soulful” moment in nature home, please contact me at thesoulfulgardener@gmail.com for pricing information.

Enjoy the show!