Tag: Wildlife Gardening

Where Have All the Berries Gone?

Autumn is about fruit. Mists and mellow fruitfullness, as the poet said. In the garden, there’s fruit for people and fruit for the birds. I have lots of the latter. This year I noticed that lots of the fruit that is supposed to hang around so we can admire it for a while has been …

Lights! Camera! Goldfinch!

Judy shot this video today of a goldfinch eating seeds on the Cupplant (Silphium perfoliatum) in the front garden. Goldfinches love cupplant, and I love to watch them eat. Though they can be messy. This one must drop at least three seeds for every one he swallows. I guess that works fine from the Cupplant’s …

Beeing There

There are a lot more bees in our garden this year than last. That does not mean, I realize, that the crisis of bee survival is abating, but it is nice to know that at least our garden provides bees with good foraging. Here’s a little video of the bees on our anise hyssop (Agastache …

Why do Goldfinches Turn Golden?

This is a particularly interesting time to watch American goldfinches, though I enjoy having them around all year long. But right now is when they do a partial molt, replacing all their feathers except for those on the wing and tail. The feathers that grow in are the bright yellow breeding plumage. In September the …

Reason to Bee Hopeful?

There is an article in the most recent Science section of the New York Times on efforts to fight the worrisome decline of bees. The focus is on increasing the availability of plants in agricultural areas that provide forage for pollinators. In California, researchers are testing native plants for use in hedgerows or among crops. …

My Favorite Plants for Attracting Hummingbirds

I’ve been thinking about Hummingbirds a lot lately. This may seem odd in that the snow along my curb is piled about 4′ high and the temperatures lately have varied between really cold and brutally cold – not exactly Hummingbird weather. But perhaps that is why thoughts of Hummingbirds are such a pleasant diversion. Plus, …

Are ‘Nativars’ The Enemy?

The most recent issue of the Wild Ones bi-monthly journal arrived the other day, featuring a big page one article on ‘Nativars’, or cultivars of native species. I’m a member of Wild Ones, which seeks to promote the use of native plants. The article lays out the organization’s recently adopted stance regarding these plants, which …

Last Plant Standing: Fall vs. Spring Garden Clean Up

One way to classify gardeners is based on whether they remove dead plant material in fall or spring. Mostly I’m a spring cleaner. Birds and bugs are my primary reason. The other day I watched goldfinches feeding on the seed heads of yellow coneflower (Ratibida pinnata), one of the late season sights I love. These …

The Ripening Fruits of August

It seems a melancholy thing that summer is slipping away into fall. I especially regret seeing the daylight hours slowly shortening with each sunset. On the other hands, there are compensations for us and for the suburban wildlife around us. For people, there are plentiful peaches and tomatoes, cooler temperatures, fewer mosquitos (or at least …

SOS for Monarch Butterflies

An article in today’s New York Times contained alarming news about the decline of Monarch butterflies. This year the butterflies are occupying less than three acres of pine forest in their Mexican winter habitat. That’s down dramatically from the seven acres occupied in 2o11 and the 50 acres that have been full of Monarchs in …