Winter Interest, Part 2

Winter interest part 2

I mentioned in the previous post that ways to create winter interest in our garden is to “think of the aspects to the garden that you like through the rest of the year, and then find winter tolerant providers– texture, colour, movement, smell”.

So a quick note on “movement”.

Wind causing movement of feathery plants:

Stipa tenuissima. Photo credit.

Stipa tenuissima. Photo credit.

Feathery grasses that "flow" in the breeze.

Feathery grasses that “flow” in the breeze. This Miscanthus will be brown now in January (picture was taken in July), but that just means you get not only the visual interest but also auditory interest–the crunchy/crackly sound of the dry grass blades.

Water flowing from fountain or stream:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This garden will have movement from the water  as well as the Pennisetum (Fountain Grass), altho’ it’ll be brown now in January, will still be “blowin’ in the wind”.

 

Thanks to Outdoor Makeover for the picture

Thanks to Outdoor Makeover for the picture

Here in coastal BC, we don’t often have to worry about freezing temperatures when it comes to water. But if you do, you may not have the luxury of letting your fountains continue fountaining through the winter. Check your night-time temperatures, and if it’s going to be below 0° C, just keeping it running through the night might be enough to keep it liquid. Unless it’s well below 0°.

Birds of course create an delightful amount of movement, and even more so if you provide “some of their favourite things”–food and water.

House finches

House finches and a junco at the bottom.

This feeder is filled with mostly black sunflower seed top and middle, and then Nyjer in the bottom section. (I was disappointed to learn that most Nyjer seed is imported from Africa or India. So much for 100-mile diet!) Enlarge the following clip to get  better view of the house finches “eating and spitting”. 

Chickadee having a little drink.

Chickadee having a little drink.

Besides keeping the feeder filled, I like to leave faded flower stems in the garden in the fall instead of doing a fall clean-up, so the birds can enjoy the seeds.

Sedum spectabile 'Autumn Joy'

Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’–lots of seeds.

Rudbeckia hirta seed heads

Rudbeckia hirta seed heads. You’re right, this isn’t beautiful, but still provides joy when you see the birds pecking away at them.

Crocosmia seed heads. These are a big seed and I don't see much bird action around them. I wonder if I collected some and actually put them in the feeder?...

Crocosmia seed heads. These are a big seed and I don’t see much bird action around them. I wonder if I collected some and actually put them in the feeder?…

Stay tuned for the next post on “Water in the Landscape”.

Vancouver’s “City Bird”

This article, “City hopes bird strategy will take flight”, appeared in today’s Vancouver Sun. Apparently Vancouver aims to make the area increasingly bird-friendly, and city management will tell us how to do that. Which is what I’ve been writing about since I started RLGS.

(Sorry for all the links–better than cutting and pasting.)

Garden Fauna

Garden Fauna

You’ll know by now how much I love the critters (some of them, anyway–not too partial to rats, but haven’t seen any lately…) that frequent my garden. I try to have a wildlife-friendly space, following the principles I’ve written about. It helps that across the street is a wide, wild border of shrubs and trees providing lots of nesting/shelter habitat.

So you’ll forgive me for getting a little obsessed with taking pictures and vids of my local avian friends, and for making you party to the obsession.

All of a sudden, boy hummingbirds are visiting and girl hummingbirds are nowhere to be seen. Anyone know why? This one below much think he’s a dog!

These birds don’t really need my feeders since there’s a lot of seeds and bugs around in the winter here. But by putting the feeders up I get to appreciate them, and am increasingly inspired to make my garden as fauna-friendly as possible.