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!

Leave ’em for the Latecomers

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird migration is prompted by hormones, not weather. Go ahead and leave those feeders up as a nectar source for the stragglers coming from the north. Especially since flower sources begin to dwindle during the fall season in most home gardens.

For more fun facts, check out this entertaining and informative video, below. Or, click on this How to Attract Hummingbirds to your Garden link.

#HappyGardening!

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!

Celebrate with The Soulful Gardener

Carderock-C-O-Potomac-landscape-frame-059.JPGAt the NEW Homewood Suites, Gaithersburg Grand Opening on Thursday, June 11th from 4 p.m. –
7 p.m. Please R.S.V.P. & get more information here.

The Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 5:45 p.m.

“Celebrate our hotel opening with Homewood’s Lewis the Duck and support the Gaithersburg environment as the Muddy Branch Alliance showcases local artists in support of our tributary streams and watershed. Displayed art will be available for purchase. ”  ~ Homewood Suites, Washington D.C. North, Gaithersburg

False-Blue-Indigo-Frame-May-Potomac.JPGAs one of the guest artists, I will have a collection of signature photographs on display and available for purchase. I will also have information about custom presentations you can schedule for your garden club, eco-action group, HOA and/or green organization.

Come celebrate the opening of Homewood Suites while looking at beautiful local art and enjoying some nibbles and noshes. Remember to R.S.V.P. so we can plan accordingly.

Hope to see all my local Soulful friends there!

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.

“Life in the Landscape” Series

New Photo Series

TSG Potomac Library show Life in the LandscapeThis collection of photographs highlights beautiful & sometimes seldom seen moments of “Life in the Landscape” captured in our own Certified Wildlife Habitat and from local gardens and parks.

You can find framed pieces from this collection at Wild Bird Center, Gaithersburg located on Darnestown Road.

On Thursday, June 11th, this series will be on display at the Grand Opening of the Homewood Suites, Gaithersburg. Find details & R.S.V.P. here. I will be there to talk about my passion to use photographs to “bring people, plants and nature together.” Photos will also be available for purchase. Hope to see you there!

Many of these and similar images can be seen in my custom presentations that I deliver to garden clubs, home owner’s associations and various other organizations. To schedule a presentation for your group, please check out my new Speaking page where you will find a list of topics and references. As The Soulful Gardener, I know that every time we enter into nature, she greets us with wonderful and sometimes unexpected surprises. “Mother Nature never lets us down.”

Please share this post and The Soulful Gardener, website with your friends and family. What is better than a garden full of friends?

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!

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)

 

Dishing the Dirt!

Garden Tea & Hat Party 6-9-13 042This Easter season, I was honored to be interviewed by Sharon Allen Gilder for a featured piece in our local paper, The Town Courier. I am thrilled to dish the dirt about my passion for gardening and nature. Nothing is more rewarding to me than to hear people say that they have been inspired to follow their own garden dreams by my work online or in person.

“I hope to encourage everyone to get outside, get dirty & grow,
inside and out.”

My hope is that this article will serve to bring more people together with plants & nature for health and well-being. To read the article, please go to: http://towncourier.com/heather-zindash-the-soulful-gardener/

If you are also inspired, please help me spread the word dirt!

Happy Gardening!