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---Anne K Moore---

Although I donít mind feeding squirrels along with the birds, I do like having one feeder that is exclusively for birds. The best in my garden by far is the original Absolute Squirrel Proof feeder. It has a spring-activated perch, which is adjustable to three different weights. Whenever a too heavy bird or squirrel lands on the perch, the feeder closes automatically. It is ingenious in its design. I have watched my squirrels try to figure out just how they can reach around from the top or side. It just isnít possible to reach the food without stepping on the perch and that closes it up. This feeder is available from Amazon here: Heritage Farms Bird's Choice Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

My favorite hummingbird feeder isnít an attractive flower shape or pretty glass. I love the Perky Pet Oasis Hummingbird feeder for its ease of cleaning. The whole top comes off. It also does not hold more than a cup of food, so I am not tempted to leave the food out too long without changing it. It is available here: Perky Pet 221 Hummingbird Oasis Feeder, 16 oz capacity

Suet is a welcome food addition to the garden. Insect eaters will come to the suet but they do not stop there. They also visit the flowers and shrubs, looking for insects we view as pests and they view as dinner. We have occasional visits from raccoons and opossums in our garden so we learned to wire our suet feeder securely to the shepherdís hook where it hangs. We wired a new one on the hook after we spotted the old basket so far up a pine tree, we couldnít retrieve it. I like plastic coated wire with a whole side that opens up. This makes it easy to slip in the suet while the holder is still attached to the hook. Find it here: C. & S. Prod. 730 E-Z Fill Suet Cake Holder

My latest garden purchase is a Wild Bird Solar Sipper. It should keep water thawed and available for the birds throughout the wintry weather. I ordered this simple design, which is just a black top over a round water reservoir with a hole in the middle for drinking. Find it here: Happy Bird DLXSS Deluxe Wild Bird Solar Sipper It will work well in this climate where we only have a few days of freezing weather. Our lowest temperatures are 20 degrees most winters. The birds have already figured out how to drink from it.

If you have longer, deeper winters then you should look at electric de-icers for your birdbath. Water is most important for garden dwellers and hard to come by in the winter months. Find de-icers and heated birdbaths on Donít forget that you will need an outdoor extension cord to use any of these products.

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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Kate Karam for Monrovia
Photograph courtesy of Monrovia

As landscapes are getting smaller and gardeners have less time to care for them, these naturally smaller plants are taking a larger role. They look great year round, come in all kinds of shapes, forms, and colors, many are water-wise once established, and most thrive in extreme climates. However, the real reason we love them is the way they provide strong structure and play well with floriferous bounty during the growing season, becoming stars in their own right during the winter. If you live in zones 4 - 8 you have the largest range of choices, but there's something amazing for just about every zone! Read more...

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