Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Spring Into the Garden, Give Nature a Helping Hand! A Garden Review

 

Spring has sprung!  Gardeners and Conservationists are all jumping for joy! A Garden Review.

But wait a minute, before you get all excited about getting your hands dirty and your gardens in shape, let's take a few minutes to think and see what Mother Nature would have us do instead!

Many gardeners are just itching to get their gardens cleaned up and looking tidy and I can't say that I blame them.  After a long cold winter, making things (garden beds) look nice is a job that many gardeners love to do.  Why wait?  Well, would it help for you to know that many bees are still hibernating within the leaves and debris that is in your garden?  We have a serious problem with declining bee populations, so anything you can do to help them would be a welcome thing to do.

I'm not advocating that you leave your gardens in a messy state, but rather wait just a few weeks before getting to the "mess".  That will be time enough for the bees to wake up from their winter slumbers and start looking for those first dandelions for food.

That brings up to the second thing that gardeners should really stop doing in the springtime.  Did you know that dandelions are one of the first spring flowers to come up in your gardens?  Well they are and they are full of good nutrition for the bees who wake up hungry.  Leave those flowers alone, let them bloom and welcome the sight of those bees that are doing the hard work!  If you don't want a proliferation of dandelions in your lawn, just watch the flowers and when they have all been pollinated, and start to produce their seeds heads, go out then and cut them off and dispose of them so no seeds are flying around the garden!  The parent plant will produce another flower for the bees and then you can do the same thing again.  Pluck the spent flower head before it sends it's seeds everywhere.  This way you will be providing food for the bees without dandelions taking over your gardens.  Easy peasy!

Spring comes on quickly, so you need to be ready for all kinds of wonderful things that will happen during this time.  Number three on my list of things to do (or not do) is check for migrating birds in your area.  Hummingbirds are the Number One bird everyone is looking forward to seeing.  They too will come to your gardens hungry from their travels north!  You can check out this Hummingbird Migration Map to see when they will arrive in your area!  

So what can you do to help those Hungry Hummers?


Have your hummingbird feeders out a week or so before they are due in your area.  Keep them clean and available with fresh nectar that is changed weekly!  Why do you need to change the nectar?  Well as with anything left out to the elements, nectars can go "bad".  That means they will get moldy and rancid.  The idea is to feed those hungry hummers, not to harm them!  So clean fresh nectar is a MUST!  (p.s. nectar is simply four parts water to one part sugar, NO DYES)  In the early days of their migration you can make up nectar and keep it in the fridge.  Just put a small amount in the feeders until you know they have found you!  Once you know they are around, then you can fill up those feeders to a cup of nectar and again keep the nectar fresh!
                                                                                  Ruby Throated Hummingbird

           
Migrating Birds, what you need to know!

 Along with the bees, migrating birds are also having "human" problems!  What are those, you might ask?  Well in large urban areas where skyscrapers and really large windows are the norm, many migrating birds fly into those windows and drop like stones onto the pavement below! They suffer broken necks, wings and sometimes are just so stunned that they don't recover.  This is truly a sad situation for birds that fly so far to get to their northern nesting areas.  Large windows are almost invisible to the birds, so their tracking is off!  How can we help them?  It's easy, first is awareness and then there is something as easy as placing "cling decals" on the windows so that they will see them and avoid crashing into them.  You can easily purchase these decals in many styles, some are transparent to the human eyes or others are decorative and produce an ambience in your homes as you look out those windows.  It's a small price to pay for the benefit of the birds and possibly for you to enjoy them as they make their homes in your yards. 

Did you know that there are several species of migratory birds in North American?  Taken from All About Birds.org:
  • Magnolia Warbler by Gerrit VynLong-distance migrants typically move from breeding ranges in the United States and Canada to wintering grounds in Central and South America. Despite the arduous journeys involved, long-distance migration is a feature of some 350 species of North American birds.

  • Learn More About Bird Migration

  • If you want to know more about Bird Migration, there is a wonderful website by Cornell University that follows and updates information on all kinds of migratory birds!  You can find it RIGHT HERE!  This is excellent reading material for any bird enthusiast!  Don't stop with dedicated Birders, get your young ones involved in becoming Bird Ambassadors, they will learn and do so many things in a fun and really rewarding way.
  • There are great books available for children and adults too!  Easy to read and understand, they will teach you everything you need to know and look for when searching the skies and yards for those feathered friends.


Yellow Rumped Warbler

This Easter, instead of just filling our children with chocolate and candy, let's feed their minds with some easy and interesting ways to keep their future in balance. Add some of those window decals or a bird feeder to their Easter basket for an Eco-Friendly alternative to chocolate or candy! 

Happy Easter to Everyone!
 



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9 comments:

  1. Definitely some things to think about here, Olivia though I do leave the outdoor work to my husband. I love the idea of giving bird feeders or related items to children at Easter time. I know mine would have loved them.

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  2. Window decals would be a nice idea for a child's Easter Basket or to send in an Easter Card to a faraway grandchild.

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  3. I have to trim my bushes before the high heat hits us so I was out working in my yard all day this past Monday. My husband and I noted the dandelions all over our backyard (the one area the homeowners association can't touch with their intrusive rules) and we discussed how we were not cutting the grass because of the dandelions for a few more weeks. What so many consider an eyesore, I consider beautiful nature! We refuse to have our backyard treated with chemicals so hopefully some wildlife can find a refuge here. It is sad to see the crazy drive for perfect grass and yards drive out and kill the natural beauty. We see very few hummingbirds anymore, but we maintain their Rose of Sharon. If they can get here, we will provide natural food for them. Our Rose of Sharon bushes feed everything: bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, etc. Your article makes me think I need a few more. btw, my parents put window decals on their picture window, as well as fake owls in the bed right in front of it, to dissuade birds from flying into it. I love that my parents care more for the wildlife than they do appearances.

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  4. Oh Olivia, this is a wonderful article with so many great tips. I always leave my flower pots full of their dead leaves and flowers for the birds in the winter and early spring. It is easy enough to clean them out once it is time to plant new growth. I appreciate your tips on hummingbirds too. I learned a few things I hadn't thought of, like just putting a small amount of the nectar in the feeders in the beginning. That is a great idea. Thanks again for all the tips.

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  5. Olivia, there are so many wonderful tips here, and I learned quite a bit from your post. Although we aren’t as bothered as many other people by dandelions in our front yard, I had no idea of their ecological importance in protecting the endangered bee population! Sadly, we don’t get a lot of hummingbirds in our area, but my husband’s parents spend most of the year at their Maine cottage on the lake, in the woods, and my MIL is careful to prepare fresh nectar for their feeder at least weekly.

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  6. So many great tips and ideas here. We stopped using chemicals on our lawn years ago so we get plenty of dandelions. We do have a large window in the front of the house that birds are always crashing into, I'll have to get some of those stickers. Thanks Olivia.

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  7. I had no idea that the bees might be hibernating in the yard and garden "trash". That is good information to know. I did know about the dandelions. And have some early spring flower bulbs on my wishlist.

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  8. Olivia, excellent tips, thank you. Clings for the windows are necessary especially when the windows are tinted and reflect trees in the yard. Our yard has this issue and we've had birds fly full force into our family room window, so a cling would be an excellent solution. So far we've been lucky; no birds injured.

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  9. Olivia I could not agree more! Working with Mother nature rather than striving for a version of perfection is crucial if we are to help the bees and other insects and pollinators which in turn help us. Dandelions and daisies don't bother me at all I think they are quite beautiful!It is so sad when bird fly into windows and the trend for larger panes of glass has exacerbated this as the birds just see the reflection of trees etc and think they are OK so decals can be very helpful. We don't have hummingbirds here but they are so beautiful I would love to see them one day. Thank you for all these interesting and helpful tips.

    ReplyDelete

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