Sorry I just couldn’t resist taking more photos of the garden covered in snow. These are much better than the ones I took at 5 am since it isn’t blowing like crazy. The dogs are really enjoying playing, running in it as well as eating it. lol As you can see my little photo hogs managed to get in a couple of the shots.
Doesn’t the ‘Arbor Garden’ look pretty covered in snow? I love how the red accents of the bench, washtub & berries of the Nandinas stand out against all that white. The two little shrubs in front (just to the right of the washtub) are Spirea ‘Goldmound’. Even without foliage they look interesting at this time of the year.
The Rhodie in the corner of the ‘Fountain Garden’ is looking weighted down with all that snow on it’s branches. Hopefully it doesn’t cause any breakage. Here you can see my Forsythia with yellow blooms & a light frosting. Spaz managed to squeeze into another shot, look how the snow rested on the base of that tree. I don’t think I will be sitting on the swing anytime soon, lol.
The other day when I went to fill the feeders from my pourable container the lid fell off, oops! Oh well the birds found the messy pile and are devouring it. A few seconds after I took this shot Spaz noticed them and chased them away. They’ll be back as soon as she wanders off again, lol.
Over the weekend I had a interesting visitor to the garden. After much research online I think this is a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk. Of course I could be wrong with the identification so feel free to correct me. I am no expert on birds but am always eager to learn whatever knowledge can be passed along my way. Wish I could of gotten a better photo of it. I was looking out the kitchen window yesterday morning when it flew into my patio and landed in the wheelbarrow of firewood I keep by the back door. Of course I was quite excited so I ran to grab my camera but it was hard to take a picture of it through the window so I tiptoed outside. Unfortunately not quietly enough because it quickly flew over to the fence post. This photo has been enlarged so you could see the beautiful markings on the back & tail. From what I gathered online they feed on medium sized birds and small mammals such as voles and mice. I’ve seen several of these this winter swooping into my yard which sends the birds at the feeders into a frenzy of flight. They have become quite common in suburban and urban areas over the years. Hopefully my feeders haven’t become a convenient buffet for their appetite. Nature is violent and beautiful all rolled into one package. For more information about this particular breed of birds you can go here.
The Butterfly Bush in my garden is a magnet for a variety of insects on a daily basis. The bees, wasps, moths and butterflies adore the nectar from this sweet smelling shrub. Yesterday I was strolling the garden and saw this Monarch Butterfly flittering from blossom to blossom on the Butterfly Bush. He wasn’t being a good model, but I did manage to get a couple of good shots before he flew away.
Yesterday was a beautiful day in the garden. The sun was shining and it was warm but not humid. As you can see the birds were enjoying the birdbath in the new garden. At one point I counted ten birds splashing around like it was their own private swimming pool. Then Spaz chased them all off except these two.
The Bees were swarming the Salvia ‘Mystic Spires’ yesterday like crazy. Do you think they are stocking up for the winter? I counted at least 20 Bumblebees on this one plant. This plant has been a bee magnet. What kinds of wildlife do you enjoy watching in the garden?
Well I went to the Virginia Living Museum’s Fall Plant Sale yesterday. They have these sales in the spring, summer & fall each year. They had 80 different types of perennials (which included ferns, grasses & vines. In addition they also had 18 types of shrubs and trees. They have them separated by sun, shade, dry & moist locations. I am trying to add more Native species to my garden each year to attract wildlife & for drought tolerance. Native species adapt better to the climate in which you live. This fall I was particularly interested in adding some native shrubs to my garden. They had several I was interested in but I decided on the Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’. I was attracted to the berries that deepen to a dark blue in the fall. In the spring it gets large clusters of white flowers and the foliage turns a deep maroon color in the fall. Another bonus for me was the songbirds and butterflies it is said to attract to the garden. I’m trying to replace my abudance of Nandina domestica with some native species that are beneficial to the wildlife that visit my garden each year. These should make for some year round interest in the fountain garden. The flowers and later berries will add some much needed color to this color of my yard. Here are the two Viburnums I selected:
Some facts on these shrubs include:
- Hardy in zones 5-9
- Deciduous shrub
- Height about 6 ft in cultivation
- Blooms April – May
- Blooms are White clusters
- Full sun to part shade
- Medium water needs
- Low maintenance
- Prune lightly in fall if needed
- Berries change from pink to deep pink to blue to black
- No pests or disease problems noted
These yellow blooms are always a sure sign of the end of summer in the garden for me. Goldenrod is to the fall garden what Daffodils are to the spring time. It’s a sure sign of the changing of the seasons. Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’ (otherwise known as Goldenrod) grows 3-4 feet and has more flowers than some of the other species. It is a native North American wildflower. It blooms from late August – September. The long fingers of golden flowers look like fireworks exploding in air. These plants provide nectar/pollen for bees and the butterflies in early fall.
Benefits of growing Solidago:
Finches, juncos, sparrows and ruffed grouse enjoy feeding on the seed.
Solidago ‘Fireworks’ is a clump forming plant that rarely needs staking.
The nectar helps the migrating butterflies in the fall.
The pollen and nectar is used by bees to build up their winter stores.
It is deer resistant and a non-allergenic cut flower.
Growing and maintenance tips:
It will grow best in a sunny, moist and well-drained site.
It will tolerate moister soils than many of the other Goldenrods.
Removing spent flowers will encourage additional blooms.
You should divide every 2-3 years to keep plants healthy.
It is hardy in USDA zones 3-9.