Showing posts with label gardens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gardens. Show all posts

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Backyard Garden Birds: Springtime Review

Backyard Bird World
With the arrival of Spring, many of us see charming birds return to our backyard gardens. So, it's time to review what these birds need to encourage them. Besides Robins, which nearly everyone of us sees as heralding Spring, there are many regional birds. Like the Eastern Bluebird. OK, that's one of my personal favorites. And I found an article on Easy Backyard Gardening that highlights these delightful little birds.

Great Photo Opportunities


The author of Best Wooden Birdhouses shares photos of the Eastern Bluebirds that occupy her own backyard garden. She has a wooden birdhouse for them that blends well with her wooden fence. A nice security features for the birds themselves.

Anytime you add bird-friendly features to your own backyard gardens you get great photo opportunities. I can attest to that. I have been able to get photos of baby Swifts in the nest, brilliant Northern Cardinals on my window feeder and Yellow Finches hanging out in my Cedar trees.

The simple addition of a good wooden birdhouse will give you plenty of photo opps. Just make sure to stop and see the birds.

Hummingbirds in Backyard Gardens


Most everyone can enjoy the return of the tiny hummingbird. With a few-well placed feeders (www.backyardbirdworld.com/bird-houses-feeders/care-of-hummingbird-feeders), these
Care of Hummingbird Feeders
birds will return to your backyard garden year after year. Hummingbird feeders take a little bit of care, but are definitely worth the time. Seeing the hovering little birds around your yard is a site worth enjoying.

So make sure to add feeders that will encourage hummingbirds to share your garden space with you. For those of you who enjoy planting flowers, add some bright red ones. That will also help hummingbirds be attracted to your backyard gardens. The beauty of the flowers will be enhanced by the presence of charming birds.

Get Your Backyard Garden Ready


Make sure to take a little time and get your own backyard garden ready to welcome back the springtime birds. Whether it's a new wooden birdhouse or a hummingbird feeder, the birds will appreciate it. And you will appreciate seeing the birds in your garden.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Friday, May 8, 2015

I Love My Garden Kneeler

Don't Wait Like I Did to Get Yourself a Garden Kneeler

My Garden Kneeler, photo © B. Radisavljevic
I love gardening. I like taking a neglected flower bed and bringing it to life with color. That's why I decided to redo the flower beds at the house I inherited from my mother. This Garden Kneeler has made it possible for me to work on this transformation more safely and with less pain than I was able to before I bought it.
Let's face it. If you are going to pull weeds and plant flowers, you will be either bending over or kneeling. Kneeling is more efficient. It never used to be a problem for me, but I'm seventy now. When I kneel, it hurts my knees. 
At Work on My Garden Kneeler, photo © B. Radisavljevic
I'm resting my arm on the kneeler as I work on this bull thistle plant that had babies in my herb garden.

The Step 2 Garden Kneeler, however, has a foam pad that keeps my knees from hard surfaces like the ground and the concrete sidewalk.
Notice the Foam Pad and Handles on My Garden Kneeler, photo © B. Radisavljevic
I was planting and weeding in this bed and wanted you to see the kneeler without me inside it. I need to get that bucket with the caddy.

Another problem one has at my age is getting back up from that kneeling position. The body just doesn't want to move up. It needs some help. The handles on this kneeler are sturdy enough to support me when I start to rise. This makes a lot of difference in how much I enjoy my gardening.
Before I bought the Step 2 Garden Kneeler, I tried two other brands available in a local store. One was a folding kneeler, but it wasn't very sturdy. I have a neck problem that makes falls especially dangerous for me, so I didn't want to take chances on something flimsy just to save a few dollars. Another brand I tried just wasn't roomy enough to get in and out of comfortably.
The Step 2 Garden Kneeler has made me look forward to my work in the garden again. It's light enough to easily move where I need it. Although it had a handy hole in the top that acts as a handle when it's standing up, I normally transport it upside down as the kneeler. It makes cleanup easier, since I can fit a wastebasket for weeds and a small box with gardening utensils on the pad, pick up the kneeler by the handles, and carry it all to the garage. That saves me some extra trips.
Sitting on My Garden Kneeler, photo © B. Radisavljevic
Taking a rest on my overturned kneeler in bench mode in front of the rosemary, black sage, and butterfly bush

One great feature I didn't mention yet is that if you are tired and need to get off your knees and rest for a bit, you can turn the kneeler over and use it as a bench. It was sturdy enough to hold my husband, who weighs close to 260 pounds.
I really love this kneeler. I don't know how I managed without it all these years. It would have made my life more comfortable even when I was younger. After all, no one enjoys having one's knees on a hard surface.
I tried to get along with just a cheap green pad before, but it was of poor quality in comparison to this one, and it wasn't as thick. The pad on this kneeler rests on a thick hard surface that won't let you feel the rocks and thorns you can feel through the stand-alone foam pads. And I still had to get up and down to and from ground level with no help. This product solves all the mobility problems and saves my knees. I highly recommend this Garden Kneeler to anyone who spends much time working on the ground.

OK. I'll Admit it. I'm Showing Off


This is my garden kneeler in bench form so you can see the details without me covering them up. But the real reason I'm displaying it is to show off. It's sitting in front of a flower bed I completely transformed, as I did the other flower beds in the front yard of this home in Paso Robles. This used to be a bunch of nothing with some scattered gazanias, mostly close to the house, between two juniper bushes.
I left the gazanias at the very back, where they continue to spread. I planted one calendula and all the others in this bed are its babies. If you have a good eye, you can see the opal basil next to the pot of catmint in bloom. Behind the catmint is some African Blue Basil in bloom with a tall borage in bloom behind it. I also added some petunias, mums, and pansies for seasonal color. There is a large hyssop behind the carnations that has finished blooming, leaving only its rust-colored spikes. What you can't see are the chocolate cosmos and the monarda which are hidden by the borage.
My garden kneeler has made it possible to do this job faster and in more comfort than I ever could have managed without it. I use it most while pulling the weeds and planting, but at least I can sit and rest when I'm tired without leaving the yard.

Get Your Garden Kneeler Now to Save Your Knees



While You're Already Shopping, Why Not Add These?

The kneeler makes gardening more comfortable, but nothing is more frustrating than having to get up and go back to the shed or garage to get a tool you forgot to bring with you. The bucket caddy, which attaches to a five-gallon bucket (not included) will help you organize all that stuff and you can sit it beside your kneeler within reach. As you can see in one of my photos above, I need one.
Since I write a lot about gardening, I also like to keep my digital camera with me to photograph interesting things I find as I work. I'm sure one of the pockets would accommodate that, and my cell phone would fit in another.
This is on my wish list, since I'm currently just throwing my tools in a small cardboard box and using a small plastic waste basket to throw the weeds in as I work. I would prefer to keep my tools in a more organized fashion. This caddy even has a special place for seed packets, which don't fare very well tossed in the box with my tools.
The garden cart I have is slightly different than the one pictured here. This is the closest I could find to it. Mine is green and does not have telescoping handles as this one does. What they have in common is their shape and their maneuverability. Mine is light and easy to move, even when full of dirt or compost. I can stick packages of fertilizers on top of the dirt I'm moving so they get to the garden with me. The bucket caddy could also ride along on top.
Together, all these items will supplement your kneeler to make your gardening life easier. If you are in need of hand tools for your gardening activities, you might want to look at the Japanese Sickle my friend reviewed elsewhere on this site.




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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Magic in the Air from Spring to Fall.

While most birds do not have any difficulty finding food for themselves in the spring, summer and fall, there is one exception to that rule.  Our everyday (I won’t ever call them ordinary) birds, the ones that frequent our gardens throughout the year, know very well how to forage for seeds, nuts and bugs.  However there is a bird that frequents us in the nicer months and I’m sure that everyone would love to have them in their gardens especially through the summer months.  Right now they are on their way to us, migrating thousands of miles in order to make it to our backyards.  They are so little and so pretty, about the size of a mouse, only much more colourful and faster than a speeding bullet.
If you look at the migratory maps, you can see where these lovelies have been spotted already and watch their quickening arrivals on our shores.  Every year there is a Hummingbird Migration Map put out, so that you can record the first sightings of these migratory birds.  This image is the map for 2015.  http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html
As you can see, they travel a long distance to make it to us and so when they arrive and all along their journey northwards, they love to stop at red feeders that are filled with sugar water, so that they can have the energy to continue on their way. 
Scientists believe that the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds can spot the red colored feeders from miles away and will make a bee line for those feeders.  Being such tiny creatures, they need lots of energy in a food source that is easy for them to metabolize.   Sugar water is just the thing for them.  Put the feeders out in the spring time and watch what happens. 
You have choices when it comes to feeders, the one I have  showcased for you here, is probably the top  model of feeders that catch the eyes of the “Hummers”.  
You also want a feeder that is easy to clean.  Sugar water needs to be replaced and replenished daily.  Start with a feeder with only a little bit of sugar water in it.  Once you know that you have Hummers coming to visit the feeder, increase the amount of sugar water in the reservoir.  Put the feeder somewhere where the red is visible from the skies, but also close to some bushes so that the little Hummers can rest in safety.  If you are really lucky, they may even choose to nest in the available shrubbery and you will be witness to the birth of the next generation of these beauties.

If you have time to watch, and see what all the excitement is about these birds, then check out this YouTube overview and you will begin to understand why people are so fascinated with these little critters.The Wonderful World of Hummers.

Once you fall in love with these little Mini-Mites, you will understand why so many people put out these hummingbird feeders.  Just to have a chance to see them up close and personal, is a treasure of nature that is unparalleled.

Keep those feeders full of nectar and the hummers will visit you until they start their trek back to the warmer climates....they need that energy.

They will also come back next year and delight you all over again.

Nectar recipe:  1 cup of sugar (granulated)
                         3 cups of water.
Boil water and add sugar, stirring mixture until the sugar is liquid.  That's all there's to it and you don't need to add any red fool coloring.....it's better for them without it.




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