Preparing for Garden Visitors

Blue Jay spying a squirrels hidden peanut

As a gardener, Spring is a most exciting time.  From watching the first signs of bulbs emerging from their still chilly soil to witnessing the return of favorite birds, Spring never fails to instill hope and renewal.  Although I provide bird seed for the hardy winter guests and love to watch the squirrels and finch vie for the best spot at the feeder, I always look forward to the return of the mourning doves, blue jays, and hummingbirds.

Blue Jay spying a squirrels hidden peanut

I’ve learned to keep the camera handy in spring.  This jay arrived yesterday, and made a beeline for a peanut hidden among the columbine in my raised planter.   What a beauty.

For me the best part of gardening is sharing the yard with our feathered friends.  Although I’ve never bought flowers to particularly entice hummingbirds to the yard, I found them showing up soon after I purchased Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ .   This year as part of the new rose garden I have planned I will add a trumpet vine with its cheery orange flowers to naturally attract the hummingbirds.  For more information on growing vines in Colorado go <HERE>. They say trumpet vines can take a few years to produce flowers when grown in Colorado so a man-made feeder is on the books for this year.

Found feeder at Amazon

I have had quite a time trying to find feeders that do not leak and look nice. This year I stumbled upon these feeders on Amazon. I will hang them on my trellis in the flower garden out back.

I like the copper detailing which, if my white clematis take off this year, will be a beautiful accent.  These feeders were $22.   The reviews for the feeders do not shed any light on their longevity, especially in full sun, so I will report back at the end of this season.  The feeders are quite large, so do not expect I will be filling these up.

Hummingbird food Recipe

1 part white sugar

4 parts water

In a saucepan, over medium heat,  stir in sugar and bring to a boil.  Once boiling remove from heat.  Boiling will kill yeast and help remove chlorine from your water.  You do not want to boil for long as evaporation of water will throw off the sugar / water ratio.

Do NOT USE FOOD COLORING, although not toxic to humans, a tiny bird who drinks 3x their weight in nectar can be affected by the artificial additives of dyes!

Once cooled, add the nectar to your feeders, and store excess in the refrigerator.  The mixture can be stored for 7 – 10 days. Always rinse out your feeders well when refilling them, to help keep bacteria at bay.

Isn't verdigris nice?

The second purchase I made to keep the birds happy in my yard is another bird bath.  Bird baths are essential for Colorado gardens.  In the heat of summer many of the natural water sources for birds begin to dry up, so having a bird bath will ensure visitors to your garden.  Also, if you have problems with squirrels, this is a great alternative to putting out feeders.

Birds need water not only to drink but to clean their feathers of dust.  Rinse / refill your bath often.  The bath I purchased is over 18″ wide and will reside in the center trellis of the flower bed.  I haven’t looked to see how well it will fit, so keep your fingers crossed.  Be on the lookout this summer for these items pictured in my garden.  If I can find another Jackmanii clematis to replace the dead one, the verdigris will be striking against the purple flowers.

So now its time to start looking for that Jackmanii clematis…. or should I be checking off my to do list?  Nah, plant shopping is MUCH more fun!

An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.