BIRDSONG AND BUTTERFLY WINGS
Silence is golden. This old-time maxim describes the quiet we treasure when we
work in the garden. There is
nothing worse than having that silence broken by a neighbor's favorite tunes
blasting from a player. This
rudeness drowns out the most welcome sounds of nature: Breezes that rustle the greening
leaves, birdsong that stirs the heart, and buzzing signally the bee-pollinating
of the spring flowers.
This season, amidst the piled up chores
waiting for sunny skies and warm days, do not forget to add birdhouses, birdfeeders,
and birdbaths. Although food is
very important to our wild neighbors, water is crucial. Even if you do not put out any seed or
suet, you will have visitors if you keep a birdbath filled with fresh water. Two baths are even better. Some birds prefer a shallow bowl on the
ground; others prefer it raised up onto a stand.
When you are picking up flowers for your
borders and containers, remember plants that will provide food and shelter to
the wildlings. Coneflowers,
sunflowers, burgundy grass, black-eyed Susans, and the gorgeous annual millet,
'Purple Majesty' (Pennisetum glaucum)
all provide seeds later in the season.
Some, like coneflowers and sunflowers, do double duty by providing butterflies
with ample landing pads during their blossoming days. Bronze fennel is a caterpillar incubator for the swallowtail
butterfly. Hummingbirds love deep
trumpet flowers like Cuphea (cigar
plant) and any of the flowering salvias, blue included.
Add food and water to your garden and they will
come. Birdhouses are also good
additions. Evergreens, like
hollies, cryptomerias, cedars, and Leyland cypresses provide hiding places and
keep the chill at bay on frosty nights.
Trees with spreading limbs, like crabapples, invite robin nests. On a very large property, a dead tree
could be left standing. Only do
this where it will not damage anything if it falls.
Dead trees are real necessities to keep our
woodpecker population thriving.
Look for woodpecker houses to hang in a small garden. Suet hung in a suet feeder will help to
draw woodpeckers into the garden.
They will also eat large striped sunflower seeds.
It is a real pleasure to see red-bellied father
woodpeckers hiding suet or sunflower seed along the trunk of a tree and then
bringing in a fledged youngster, teaching it to find food in a natural place.
Provide Food, water, cover, and a place to raise
young and you will be rewarded with the three B's: Birds, butterflies, and bees. The chirping, scolding, buzzing, splashing, and singing
fills the warm days with sound.
Contained chaos is a fitting description of a healthy, happy
Hush and listen to the harmony. There is not much quiet in a living
garden. Bring liveliness back with
birdsong and butterfly wings.