The Jewels of Summer have Arrived!

2015 first hummingbird 008Excited to share that our first Ruby-throated Hummingbird has arrived in our wildlife habitat (a.k.a. yard) here in the Washington D.C. metro area.

2015 first hummingbird 007 2015 first hummingbird 006Have you spotted them at your house, too? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Humming-Birding!

It’s time to hang your Hummingbird Feeders!

Hummingbird at Fountain 5-15-13 002Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
are almost here!

It’s been a long cold winter here in the Washington D.C. metro area. But, believe it or not, the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are being spotted in nearby Virginia. To track their migration or better yet, to participate in a little citizen science, log your first sightings at:
http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html.

Putting up feeders now is very important since it has not been warm enough in our hummingbird feeders up 4-2 011area for established nectar-giving perennials to bloom. The hummingbirds will need a readily available food source as they migrate north from South America.

I usually supplement my hummingbird feeders by hanging baskets of annual tubular flowers in the red family such as fuchsia or snapdragons, but it is too early to assume that our overnight freezing temperatures are completely a thing of the past. The best rule of thumb is to wait until Mother’s Day to plant annuals in our area in order to avoid spring frosts. If you are like me, waiting requires serious discipline, but you will be rewarded with healthy plants that do not require a daily study of weather maps so you can protect them on very cold nights or worse, replace them when you forget.

So, get out those feeders, make your nectar and hang them up! You may get your first visitor as early as this week.

Here is a sneak peek of what you will soon be enjoying at your feeders:

Learn more here: How to attract Hummingbirds to your Garden.

Happy Gardening!

Worried about your spring bulbs in the snow?

Spring Garden 2014 cover

Don’t! Snow actually acts as an insulating blanket, protecting plants from fluctuating temperatures. Once it melts, your buds will be just fine and ready for warmer days that will coax open their tender buds, displaying their bright, cheery faces.Buried Treasure - IB (1024x911)Spring Garden 009

Happy First Day of Spring!

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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!

Fresh, unfrozen water, vital to birds & animals

Common Flicker, birds in winter pond 023The number one way to attract birds and wildlife to your yard is to provide a steady source of fresh, unfrozen water. Water is an essential, life-giving element in any/every ecosystem. It is the first step in creating your own backyard habitat.

Common Flicker, birds in winter pond 014Today this male Common (“Yellow Shafted”) Flicker stopped by our pond for a drink. Note the black mustache and yellow markings on its hind wings. The Common Flicker is part of the woodpecker family and is about 12-14″ tall. You can sometimes spot them in the summer hopping awkwardly on the ground eating ants.

We were so pleasantly surprised by his visit this morning.

Common Flicker, birds in winter pond 016Please feel free to like, share, tweet and forward to your friends and family.

Happy Gardening!

‘Leaf’ Me Alone!

Wife Convinces Husband of New Approach, Turning Fall Leaves into Black Gold

mulch leaves 002

mulch leaves 003There are many benefits to recycling fall leaves right on your own property. Doing so provides:

  1. leaf layer: a mini ecosystem on which many insects & animals depend for warmth, shelter and food in winter.
  2. Leaves break down into nutrient rich soil, a.k.a. “Black Gold.”
  3. Reduces the use of fossil fuels to transport them to an off-site composter.
  4. Reduces the cost of purchasing them back next season as finished leaf compost.
  5. Prevents organic matter from entering the landfill, where it produces dangerous gases as it breaks down

We tried three approaches this year:

  • Mulching:
    • A mulching lawn mower
    • A weed whacker and a trash can
  • Composting some whole leaves
  • Left some leaves in place to provide a winter habitat for wildlife

I hope we inspire you to capture the “Black Gold” on your property!

Happy Gardening!


Happy Thanksgiving!

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Carderock, C & O, Potomac 046 Dear Soulful Friends,

Thank you for another year of fellowship in the garden. I am so grateful for you all and it fills my heart to see viewers from all over the world enjoying this blog/site.

We are all connected. Everything we do in our own backyard, affects our global neighbors. Which means any effort that you make to improve your own yard by planting native plants (which host large numbers of insect & animal species), avoiding pesticides and reducing your storm water runoff, has a hugely beneficial impact on you, your family, your neighborhood, your country and the world.

Thank you all for all you do!

Please continue to Like, Comment, Share, Retweet, Pin & Mail to your friends. We are successful because of you.

Gratefully,

The Soulful Gardener

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!

 

 

How do you define a weed?

“A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Or, as a good friend once said, “A weed is just a plant out of place.”

pollinators, baby frog 009This year, we discovered that the wild violets, Viola papilionacea, actually support our bee populations. So, we decided not to treat them as a weed in our yard and yank them out or mow them down. Instead, we let them bloom and monitored them for important pollinator presence. There has been a lot of discussion about the lack of bumble bees in our area. Pollinators are key to food propagation and a lack of bumble bees could indicate a very serious problem in our future food supply. Therefore, if the practice of changing my perspective from weed to plant can help shift the tides of an eroding food source for our life-giving pollinators, then I say “Go forth and multiply dainty violets. You’re now safe in my yard.”

“Holy Hot Tub, Batman…”

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Providing fresh, clean water is the single best way to attract birds to your yard. toad-and-bird-003.JPG

Watch as this American Robin makes the most out of this water feature.

The sound of falling water is soothing and restorative. Even our neighbors enjoy it’s peaceful sounds as they take their evening strolls.

But, who knew that how many other creatures were enjoying the benefits of our half barrel waterfall?