This is my 'back yard.' Yes, it's small. Tiny, even. You can't really tell, but my rock garden is behind Alex. The Snowball tree hides my kitchen window. To the left of it, the building extends about two feet then extends out about five feet, creating a corner. When we moved into our apartment fifteen years ago, there was no rock garden, or Snowball tree. Grass. Throughout the years, trees were rooted and planted. A gift from a friend, my Butterfly Bush, while it's bloomed every year for the past six years, exploded with the most blossoms I've ever seen this Summer.
This past Spring, we noticed that not only were things growing at record speeds, but a lot more wildlife moved in. Now we have always seen a LOT of animals out back; Fox; both red and grey, deer, skunk, raccoon, badgers, moles, bats,
A trip to the Botanical Gardens in Wheaton, MD this past spring really got us interested in birding. We spent two hours outside the Nature Center, just watching, listening to, and making notes about the birds we saw. Lots of feeders, too. We knew we had Yellow Finches on the other side of our building (at the main entrance) but never saw one out back. Ever.
I decided to get a Thistle Sock. A mesh, tubular 'sock' that has teeny holes all over it, that you fill with Thistle seeds. Yellow finches love it.
I have never had any luck growing a veggie garden as there is just way too much wildlife, here. Planting flowers didn't seem to work, either. I had a crazy idea; If you can't beat the weeds, might as well make them look nice. I stared a rock garden. It's still a work-in-progress, but it's coming along. The last plant that I tried to grow from seed were Coleus. Dad had them all over the shady parts of our garden in Northwest Park. Seeing these happy, loud, and vibrant plants always reminds me of home. I needed some; they transport me back to 1975. Dad planting them. Ma and I watering them and counting all their colors.
My garden is my sanctuary; I sit outside and look. I think. I reminisce and contemplate. I had a seed packet and thought "why not?" By golly, they grew! So, according to the Burpee package, they need shade. LOTS of shade. I planted in the shade. Now, my little corner of the earth gets sun from 10:00AM through 4:00PM, but thanks to the Snowball tree, half of the garden is in shade, and the other half gets a least four hours of direct sunlight. Since I did my planting in the evening, I inadvertently put four seedlings in the sun area.
Well guess what, Darlings? The Coleus in the shade (photo on left), while they are growing, are tiny. The Coleus in the sun (Below) are flourishing! Big, strong, proud! I'm rambling, again.
Now, I have a new family of House Wrens living in a hanging metal flower pot that has been attached to my wall on my patio for ten years. Actually, this is the second family.
Moving in, day! Momma and Daddy House Wren work really hard building. This photo was taken by me in my kitchen using a zoom lens. We hardly see them right now, but Momma is nesting and Daddy is constantly at her beck and call, bringing her wonderful morsels of insects and berries. Honestly, it's been so quiet, that we thought they'd abandoned the nest. Rob carefully peeked inside it last week and not only scared Momma out of the nest, but nearly fell over with shock, himself! Yep, Momma's there! Just leave her be!
Birds fly to the watering hole daily, now. On days it's not raining, you can expect to see many birds in the Snowball tree, playing on the swing and swimming in their pool. Sometimes when I sit outside, I feel as if they want to be nearer to me; daring themselves to trust me. Maybe they know that it's us that is providing this playground for them?
One thing that is missing from my garden? I'd love a statue of St. Francis. After all, he did speak to the birds. I was named after him, too. I pray to him.
The birds surrounded him, drawn by the power of his voice, and not one of them flew away. Francis spoke to them:
My sister birds, you owe much to God, and you must always and in everyplace give praise to Him; for He has given you freedom to wing through the sky and He has clothed you... you neither sow nor reap, and God feeds you and gives you rivers and fountains for your thirst, and mountains and valleys for shelter, and tall trees for your nests. And although you neither know how to spin or weave, God dresses you and your children, for the Creator loves you greatly and He blesses you abundantly. Therefore... always seek to praise God.
Oh, and one more thing; Most of you that know me know that have a Parakeet. I've always had them. I can count on one hand the days in my life where I didn't have one. Fresca is blue, green, white, and old. He is spoiled out of his rotten little mind, too. Our third baby. With all of the birds hanging out now, he now has companions. Once in a while, he will fly onto the floor near my screen door and 'talk to the friends." I will hear the birds nearby and say to Fress, "Your friends are looking for you, come see! Look! The Friends are here!" Sure enough, here comes Fress, landing on the arm of the couch. Then, his head will bob up and down (A sure sign he is interested and about to go investigate), and down he goes. Then he starts chirping. LOUDLY. There are times when I am in my bedroom and he will fly in (Actually, he follows me everywhere). I'll pull up the blinds and slide open the window. More friends! One of the feeders is straight across from my bedroom window. The sound of the window sliding open beckons Fresca and he will chirp his greetings to his cousins.
Until next time, Darlings,
Peace. Coming up next blog: "Butterflies, Butterflies In My Tree; How Many Butterflies Do You See?" Or If You Sneeze, You Are Blessed By Fresca.