Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Water Features in a Garden ~ Bird Baths and Fountains

No garden is complete without a soothing water feature.

My husband brought this to my attention.
It is important that you buy a water feature that doesn't sound like a man tinkling.  Therefore, I will never purchase a fountain without being able to hear it on display at the store.

The proper pump is also important.  Our original pump lasted about 12 years.  Our fountain pictured here needs to be topped off to be refilled every other day during the hot months. It has a lovely cascading sound and draws all kinds of birds, butterflies, and bees.  The middle pool is perfect for bird baths and this is a frequent and delightful sight.

The sound of running water at night brings in all kinds of thirsty critters.  Skunks and racoons find this sound very inviting.  It used to be that we would run the fountain day and night until we realized that it was a favorite place for racoons to come and wash things in. We had to strain out the black bark mulch in the morning.  It also speeded up evaporation quite a bit.

If the water isn't circulating continually, it will grow algae.  There are many stores that sell products that zap algae from these fountains but they are expensive.  While it is running, I use a capful or so of liquid bleach and it gets the job done nicely without harming the critters that bathe and drink here, nor does it appear to have damaged the pump over the years.

Now, we only turn it on when outside in the yard.  It never fails to deliver that feeling of complete relaxation.

We have several hummingbirds that divebomb one another to protect their favorite birdbath and nectar plants. 

Though we don't have a dripper feature for this birdbath, it will instintively bring in many more birds that are attracted to the movement of the water.  These can be purchased at your local nursery for about $20-$40 and can be hooked into your existing drip systems.

Monday, July 11, 2011

OK, I couldn't resist including a beach shot from Oahu. The azure blue water is mesmerising.
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Who'd of thunk you can plant a pineapple in a wine barrel? How cute is this little guy?
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Here is a completely different variety of pineapple. I was drawn to the bright colors.
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Here is one variety of pineapple from the Dole Plantation in Oahu, Hawaii. It looks like the variety we have in stores in CA.
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There are many types of Lavender plants. Some are more fragrant than others. I LOVE every single one of the types. Some are used for cooking and making floral scented items such a soaps and perfumes. Others hold up really well as dried flowers for arrangements. All lavender scents tend to calm people. When lavender harvests take place even the bees are calm and won't sting from what I am told. I still get a bit unnerved around bees regardless.
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Watsonia corms are really hard to come by. They are my absolute favorite an old-fashioned flower that grow upright and similarly to gladiolus, although they are not invasive like glad's are. Thanks to my dear friend Leona for sharing these when she divided her sets many years ago. I think of her often and definitely think of her when these beauties are in bloom. Leona taught me so much about gardening way back when I had her darling daughters in my second grade classroom. Kendall is in her mid twenties now and her younger sister just graduated college. Where does the time go?
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Here is a look at our new fence in the background. Our little cherub sculpture is a favorite of mine. I love everything about him. Note our two tiered rock wall is nearly unseen now that the plants have grown in over the past 10 years since we relandscaped this yard. Moss rock walls enchance a garden with the wonderful and often overlooked element of texture.
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Nothing brings more relaxation to a garden than a nice water feature. Sound is important. All water features have their own sound. Be sure that before you buy one, that you are able to hear it. Ours sounds like a brook or small stream. Some may sound like a tinkle, which we prefer to stay clear of, ha!
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wedding Packets Ready to Ship

Dear Kelly,

May you and Ken enjoy your special day together. The secret to a long marriage is simple. Keep a sense of humor. Rob and I are still best friends after 25 years. We laugh together often and don't take life to seriously.