Another book I’ve read lately is Welcome to Subirdia, by John M. Marzliff. The author is an ornithologist with the University of Washington, who relates his eye-opening research about wild birds living in suburban areas.
Although it would seem obvious that development from wild land to suburbs is detrimental to wild birds, in fact suburbs can be home to dozens of species. So many yards are packed close together, and each holds its own combination of trees, shrubs, flowers and feeders. Suburbs present endless possibilities for our winged neighbors.
To me, there was a little too much research in this book and not enough call-to-action. It’s still worth checking out, if you goal is to invite more birds into your landscape.
I attended one of the public library’s gardening workshops on Tuesday evening. The topic was propagating from seed and cuttings. Unfortunately, the rest of the audience were very new gardeners and had so many questions that we didn’t get to the cuttings, which was the part I needed. It was a good presentation anyway, and I’m glad I went.
The Stella cherry tree is all pruned now. I’m trying a different technique, based on the garden encyclopedia my son gave me for Christmas. In the past, I cut it back to keep the fruit within reach, but every year I get dozens of branches going straight up. Seems I’ve been pruning it too hard, and it keeps putting up those branches because it thinks it doesn’t have a growing lead. With some help from my husband, I trimmed some of the taller ones instead of completely cutting them off. This should help the tree calm down about needing upward growth.
Now all I have to worry about are the roses.
My first spring flowers have appeared. Crocuses were first, followed by daffodils and hyacinths. Violets are up in the lawn.Tulips are also emerging; however, some of them are weirdly twisted. I’ll have to do some research and figure out what’s causing that.
I’ll soon be doing my final batch of starts for the year, some coleus and foxgloves for Bed 4, by the back door.
Following advice from a blog I enjoy, I saved a couple of the bottoms from lettuce heads and set them in water. Sure enough, they’re putting on new leaves. Zombie lettuce, anyone? Also, I’ve started applying Miracle-Gro to my new plants, to keep them thriving.
I’ve been happy to hear some great bird song in the past few days. It isn’t a song I’ve heard before. Must be the juncos. And I’ve heard, but not seen, Northern Flickers. Also, I’ve spotted my first few insects of the year, a honey bee on the crocuses and an anonymous black fly with a green metallic sheen.
More entertaining was to see a group of crows fly while I was pruning the cherry tree. They soared around and around the neighborhood, cawing endlessly. Every circuit seemed to have more crows. I wonder if they were establishing their territory for the year.