Thursday, May 30, 2013

This Garden Is For The Birds

It was only a matter of time

 (two days) before the finches found the special feeder filled with niger seed just for them.

I bought it at Lowe's and hung it on the edge of the patio cover, about six feet from the sofa. At first there were only two birds but now there are as many as four or five at a time on this feeder. True, it is  quite primitive without a catch basin and I do have to clean up after them; but mostly it is a pleasure to watch them and listen as they chatter and squawk at each other. 

And because they visit for the seed, now they are also hopping around on my Sally Holmes rose that climbs the post of the patio cover and I even saw them taking a bath at a wall fountain by my window near the family room.

I was only recently inspired to hang a feeder for finches after attending a workshop about gardening to attract birds and butterflies. It was sponsored by the San Diego Horticultural Society and taught by Marcia Van Loy, a master gardener, who lives in the Clairemont neighborhood.

She gardens mostly in her backyard on this terraced slope, which she and her husband have created over 25 years. And she gardens primarily with one thing in mind: to attract birds and butterflies into her backyard. 

This colorful hillside can make the heart of a gardener jump with joy just a little.

The variety of color, texture, and sounds of birds chirping and water falling are so inviting you can't resist hiking up through the paths.

It is a lovely place to explore.

She has water lilies, and a pond

with a waterfall.

She definitely has some feathery and furry visitors. In fact, her backyard is certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a wildlife habitat because it provides water, food, cover and a great neighborhood to raise the youngins. 

Though Marcia does have bird feeders hanging about, she relies heavily on the kind of shrubs, trees and flowers that she plants to attract birds and butterflies for nectar or seeds.

Hummingbirds are attracted to tubular flowers, such as the trumpet vine here,

and foxglove (above). Hummingbirds in my garden love my red bottlebrush and jasmines. 

Butterflies are attracted to this protea 

and this passion flower vine; but there are numerous other flowers that will bring the winged creatures to your garden. And, it is important, she noted, not to use pesticides in the garden that could make the plants toxic to the birds, butterflies or anything else.

 Marcia also has lots of resident housing options for her feathered friends.
This tree stump on the hillside makes a perfect bird townhouse development location, but

these are just a small sample of her rustic houses; I couldn't even count how many she has in her yard. Marcia teaches other master gardeners how to build them (using all manner of  re-purposed items headed for the trash bin) and then sell them to raise money for their organizations.

At the moment the only birdhouse I have is a useless metal one (because birds do not want to nest in a metal box, thank you!) on a post that my husband re-purposed a long time ago to use as a stake to support a vine and trellis up against our house.

So I guess I had better get chopping on some wood birdhouses!

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