The snow melted in Springdale, except for the north side of everything. Even the crepe myrtle bush has a tiny pile of snow on its northern exposure. This morning I tossed a clump of wood on the mulch around the crepe myrtle. Throwing organic material away is impossible when the secrets of fungi and microbes are known. Old pieces of apple and citrus will either feed the larger creatures or the microscopic ones. Either way, discarding organic matter is the same as throwing away the best top soil.
A juvenile squirrel is eating in the backyard right now. Above it is a downy woodpecker, feeding from the suet hanging from the tree. For a long time I only saw the woodpecker in the front yard, but now the front suet bags are empty and the backyard ones are temporarily full.
|A pair of chickadees can strip a garden of pests,|
just to feed their young.
Art by Norma Boeckler.
The Jackson EZ Bird Swing
I knew birds would start using the Jackson EZ Bird Swing in a few weeks. Yesterday we saw a purple finch light on the swing, move to the birdfeeder, then fly away. In time, several birds will rest up there and give us a little free show as they preen or rest or enjoy a seed.
The Jackson EZ Bird Swing is easy and inexpensive.
- Buy two lengths of chain at a hardware store.
- Purchase one package of screw hooks for hanging the chains from the eaves.
- Get a metal rod small enough to rest in the links of the chain.
- Dangle the chains from the screw hooks attached to the wooden eaves.
- Place the metal rod in chain links, with extra space on each end.
- If necessary, wrap the rod/link connection with electric tape.
Having it hang outside a window near the feeder means a good view of the birds, all day long.
Bulbs, Pruning the Roses, Then Planting New Ones
I was skeptical that February would be offer good weather for planting. We had an early spring then snow and cold weather, not what anyone wants when digging new holes in the soil.
The daffodils are coming up, and the rose canes are greening up again. Roses are much more resiliant than people imagine. Once the cold snap is over in a week, our helper and I will reduce each bush by about 2/3rds, trimming unwanted growth at the same time.
Newbies cannot imagine this, but severe pruning gives the most growth. Joining the local rose society is one way to learn more from the veterans, although I fear many older rosarians are stuck in the chemical style of gardening.
The American Rose Society has gone organic with one or more gardens. Chemicals are expensive, toxic, stinky, and provide enormous setbacks for soil life. We weer debating a point about roses in Seattle when I mentioned my membership in the ARS. That was treated as a joke, and I said, "Really I am." That does not mean I know everything about roses, only that it is the only group I find worth joining. We may go to their local meetings, if they do a lot of practical sharing.
If most of the roses come at once, that will be fun. I know where certain ones need to go, but digging all the holes will be a challenge if the weather is bad.
My opinion is that they are better off dug in than soaked in water, but they do have to be kept moist, one way or another.
|Chicago Peace Rose|