I think the reasons we garden are as numerous as the people who garden. Everyone has their own reason to start cultivating their little piece of the world , but it is what happens after we start that determines whether we go one. Nothing succeeds like success and each victory, from the first bloom on a tricky clematis vine, to the satisfaction of cooking dinner with the veggies from your own veggie plot pushes onward to the next challenge .
Lately, my challenges have not been positive ones like trying new plants with zone pushing limits, or growing 6 months of fresh lettuce, but instead negative ones like how to end up having ANY plants at all given the bunny population and how to not give in to the deep desire to throw in the trowel and pave the whole thing instead.
Two things have been stopping me from an acre of black asphalt., the first is my new wealth of feathered friends. It may take a lot of imagination to those of you who live where many have lived before, but here in The Burrow, the entire 100 acres around us had no houses, no farms, heck no grass, no trees, no wildlife at all ( not even ants) for the eons since the last ice age. Once the houses were put in it became my goal to one day be standing in my yard listening to birdsong which you never realize you miss until you actually live where silence of the really silent kind abounds. My gardens were planned with that in mind so we have lots of evergreen shrub cover , a few brush piles, food aplenty and water to make the perfect habitat. Slowly ,over the 16 years we have been here ,the birds have arrived, starting with the usual suspects of blue jays and cardinals and expanding until we are now hosting well over 30 species of birds including the arrival last year of redwinged blackbirds and this year of pine siskins. Now it gets crazy loud around here, and sometimes I rue the day I invited them here, but there is always some fascinating thing to learn that makes me forget I am now awake every day at 4:30 am.
Last week I was rudely jarred from sleep by what were clearly three redwinged blackbirds in the willows surrounded by a flock of what turned out to be the female of the species. I did a little research and found out the males attract a harem of up to 12 females and as any of you who have spent time at a home dem party or a garden club meeting, that many females together= lots of cackling. Given my experience with cardinals and mourning doves who have just the one significant other, frankly I was astounded to discover the whole menage a douze thing.
Redwinged blackbird habitat is usually marshes or ponds where they can be found perched on cattails when they wake up the neighbors up at 4 . I am still very unsure what has lured them here, although there is a small pond nearby. If you are ever curious about birds and their habitats, calls and migration, birdnote.org is a great place to start learning
The second thing that is keeping me gardening are a few marginal success stories in the bunny/critter department. I am using commercial growers tubes around the clematis to protect the bunny accessible parts , and they work remarkably well, and after waking one morning last spring to half my tulip bulbs freshly dug out I installed this wire fencing around the garden in the pool area. This spring I got to fully enjoy my “flaming purisima’ tulips without worry. Everything else in that garden including the asters ( leaving them the only asters remaining here in the ground) was also protected.( Pause for applause and back-patting). I still miss the old pre-bunny days, until I remember that they were also the pre-bird days and the tree-with -skin- instead-of-bark days too.
Just in case you were wondering, the owl in the photo does SQUAT ( see post here ) to deter anything , it just scares my dog and I kind of got used to it sitting there so I never removed it.