The garden has been tidied for winter, the holiday decorations have begun to be recycled, and I would traditionally be set with a roaring fire, a cup of irish coffee and stacks and stacks of garden catalogs and memoirs. And yet…..temps are in the 40s and I still have flowers blooming in my front garden.
I do have a number of garden resolutions this year: get my garden journal up to date by entering in all those new plants I bought this year; redo my garden maintenance chart to accomodate the warming cycle we are in; remove the last vestiges of ivy from my side yard; plant some of those bulbs I bought this past Fall and haven’t had a chance to put in.
One resolution from last January, I’ve found easy to keep has been feeding my feathered garden buddies. All year long they feasted on wild cherries, mulberries and seed heads from my rudbeckia and echinacea. Now these are gone and I’ve begun to set up my winter bird feeders.
My favorite feeder is a small lidded ceramic jar that hangs suspended by a thin wire from my magnolia; while the squirrels are able to jump to the lid, they can’t keep their balance long enough to eat much, and the birds have room to perch on the tray without spilling all the seed.
A friend gave me a lovely “gingerbread house” bird feeder from the Wild Birds Unlimited Store,and I particularly love it for the variety of seeds and nuts and the suet incorporated–the high fat content of suet is extremely important to birds in winter.
To attract sparrows, mourning doves, and towhees, seed needs to be placed near the ground where these birds normally forage. Platform feeders attract cardinals, house wrens, titmice, jays and titmice. And squirrels– so be prepared to keep these constantly filled.
Hanging feeders, such as my favorite ceramic feeder are attractive to chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and finches. These birds came to rely on my rudbeckia and echinacea all summer and I would miss their lively presence this winter if I did not keep food nearby.
Don’t forget to provide some water for birds in winter. My ceramic tray is shallow enough that it hasn’t cracked from an occasional freeze overnight, and warms up on the sunny drive during the day.