Monday, March 13, 2023

Biodiversity and Native Plants in Suburban Gardens

Native plants provide habitat and food for local wildlife, including birds, butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects. By planting native species, you are helping to support the local ecosystem and promote biodiversity.

Our native Crossvine, Bignonia capreolata, attracts birds, butterflies, and bees while adding beauty to the garden. 

Honeybees sip nectar as they pollinate the crossvine's flowers.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

DIY Birdseed Wreath

While we still have some cool weather here, I decided to try making my own birdseed wreath.

First I gathered the ingredients:
3 cups birdseed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 cups hot water
6 packets gelatin
cooking spray
bundt pan
Wide ribbon

Mix the gelatin into the water, then pour it into the bowl of birdseed and mix well. Spray bundt pan with cooking spray and add the birdseed/water mix. I added some dried cranberries on the top for an added treat. Cool in the fridge for 3 hours. Remove from bundt pan, onto a plate and tie wide ribbon. Hang outside and watch the birds discover your treat.

Thanks Central Texas Gardener

Thank you, Central Texas Gardener, for including my Plant Marker Project in this week's program. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Plant Marker Project

I finally finished a batch of herb markers that look half-way decent. I used rubber stamp letters on over-baked clay. They are not perfect, but they're cute enough for my container herb garden this spring.

The process was pretty easy. I used a terra-cotta color of 'Sculpey' oven-bake clay and some little wood stamps to crete the letter impressions.

Rolled 1-1/4 inch balls into 5-1/2 inch 'snakes'. Put a chopstick on each side of the snake before rolling them so they stayed about 1/4 inch thick.

I cut a pointed wedge end on each marker, then stamped the letters. I cooked them at 275 degrees F for 15 minutes. 

I plan to make some more so I'll have a marker in every slot in my herb pot this year. Here's a photo from 2016 of the herbs I planted in a strawberry pot.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

I'm Back and Busy with Bees

Hello Garden Friends!

It's been a long time since I last posted here. Some health issues have taking my time away from both gardening and blogging. Fortunately, I've found a spinal pain doc and PT who are helping me get back into the garden.

My latest garden project was to hang my new solitary bee houses.

These houses are for native mason bees that do not swarm, sting or burrow in wood. So, they are safe for people, pets and property. Solitary bees are excellent pollinators. One mason bee can pollinate as many flower as 100 honeybees!

The first bee house was made in the UK by Wildlife World.

The other bee house I ordered from has an observation door so we can watch the bee larva turn into cocoons and baby bees. 

We don't have any solitary bees using the new houses yet, but the honeybees have certainly found the Shades of Pink, Viburnum.

My goal this season will be to plant even more bee friendly plants to encourage pollinators to thrive.

Since honeybee populations have dropped, it's more important than ever to help out our native, solitary bees so we'll always have enough pollinators for our crops.

To learn more about solitary bees, read this page on mason bees at The Honeybee Conservancy website or watch  this informative video created by Dave Hunter of Crown Bees.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Welcome to Texas

Copyright @ 2007 - 2010. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

After a long, six-month process, my parents and sister have moved from Missouri to a sweet neighborhood in Georgetown, Texas. Their house is a 40 minute drive from mine, which is a big improvement from 13 hours.

I hope they will enjoy living Deep in the Heart of Texas. Of course, one of the first things we must do is plant a yellow rose in their garden. I love my miniature. It bloomed all summer and most of the fall.

My mother loves to garden and feed the birds. She gave the cat bird house to me that you see below. I've seen wrens try it out, but none have moved in permanently yet. My goal is to train the coral honeysuckle around the cat's face.

To the right of the bird house is one of two planter baskets.

The six potted moss rose did not seem to mind the heat this year.

By far my favorite garden activity -- besides buying new plants -- is watching the birds and butterflies. This swallowtail hung around for hours on my variegated lantana.

Hope you're enjoying the cooler autumn weather. Here's a National Geographic Monarch Music Video that might make you smile...

Happy Autumn!

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~Minnie Aumonier
Copyright @ 2007 - 2010. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Galveston Sans Oil

Copyright @ 2007 - 2010. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

It's been a busy summer so far. We just returned from another lovely vacation on Galveston Island. Luckily the oil from the Gulf Oil Disaster did not meet us there, though we did find some tar balls on the beach, courtesy of BP. Grrr...

We had an new view of the beach this year from a house we'd never rented before: Emma's Fancy.

The extra bedrooms worked out well since we were joined by both sets of grandparents, my sister and her friends.
We were relieved to find the Gulf water clean and apparently safe.

One surprise was the vast amounts of Sargussum seaweed, or Gulfweed, on the beach this summer. Galveston beaches always have a certain amount of Gulfweed, but this year was the most we'd ever seen.

According to the Park Board of Trustees, Sargussum is extremely useful. It supports a diverse eco-system when floating in the water and protects the island from erosion once it comes to shore.

The good news was, once we walked over or around the Gulfweed, the water was just as pleasant as ever.

It was a pleasant change to have 10 people in the house this year. Everyone went their own way most of the time, though we took a few group expeditions as well. My son's favorite adventure was the Dolphine and Harbor Boat Tour where we saw several dolphins following just a few feet from the boat.
A dolphin mother and baby swam right alongside us.

It was a privilege to see these beautiful creatures in the wild.

On returning to the docks we had a splendid view of the 1877 Tall Ship, Elissa.

Later, my parents discovered a distressed Northern Gannet on the beach that could neither walk nor fly. See photo below. We searched in vain for some authority to help him. After getting nowhere with the Galveston phone book, I texted a friend who helped me track down Trudy Belz. Trudy is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator who was awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award in 2005. Per Trudy's instructions, we placed the Gannet in a large laundry hamper and drove him to her home in nearby Texas City. Trudy examined the bird and said he was so weak he would not have lasted the night on the beach. Trudy will care for the Gannet -- as she does for so many other wild birds -- and release him back into the wild when he is strong enough to survive. We were happy to make a donation for her time and efforts.

As some of you may know, Galveston's Historic District lost many of its magnificent old oak trees to Hurricane Ike. Instead of removing the entire tree, some of the residents invited artists in the area to carve the dead stumps into beautiful works of art.

We had fun searching the neighborhood for the carvings.

They are a lovely tribute to the 40,000 trees that Ike destroyed.

Long live Galveston!

"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself."
- William Blake, 1799, The Letters

Copyright @ 2007 - 2010. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.