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.