A happy couple of Red-shafted Northern Flickers took just a week to create this impressive nest.
John brought me up-to-date on what was happening at the homestead and before ending the call he said, “I have something to show you in the backyard when you get home.”
My imagination was set in motion, but I wasn’t prepared for what was about to unfold.
A pair of Red-shafted Northern Flickers was preparing a nest in our neighbor’s old cottonwood tree.
It was our incredible good fortune this happy couple decided to build the nest within direct eyesight of our office window.
Over the course of a week, we watched the pair share the construction duty. Each took turns pecking at the tree with long, curved bills and discarding the wood chips on the ground below.
Lawn care…core aerate, overseed and fertilize.
Trees and shrubs…prune broken branches and keep watering through winter.
Vegetable Garden…clean up garden debris, turn soil in the garden, plant cool-season crops (like kale, other leafy greens, radishes, carrots, beets, parsnips, broccoli, cabbage).
Flower Garden…clip back spent flowers and diseased or damaged foliage, add mulch, plant chrysanthemums, asters and cool-season ornamental grasses, plant perennials (like Oriental Poppies).
Think Spring!…plant spring blooming bulbs of different varieties, sizes, colors and bloom times (like crocus, daffodil, tulips, grape hyacinths, miniature iris, Dutch Iris and ornamental onions).
Think Summer!…plant garlic before the ground freezes and mulch. Keep soil moist in the spring and harvest garlic in July.
The new Bill Hosokawa Memorial Bonsai Pavilion and Tea Garden at the Denver Botanic Gardens is now open. Here’s a little information about the ancient art of bonsai.
Despite their size, bonsai are not a species of dwarf tree, but the name of the art of growing trees in miniature. The Chinese originated bonsai over 2000 years ago, but it was the Japanese who popularized this method of cultivating a “tree in a pot.”
Although bonsai involves aspects of horticulture, this type of “gardening” is more like creating a sculpture instead of growing a tree. Each bonsai is grown in a specific style and shaped by careful pruning and wiring throughout the life of the tree. The goal is to reproduce the look of an aged tree on a miniature scale.
The earliest blooming shrub in my yard is this cold-hardy Nanking cherry.
The same thing is happening in my backyard with a mini-version of the annual event.
The lovely white flowers on the Nanking cherry shrub burst open late last week, two weeks ahead of schedule.
In one way this early blooming is a good thing. I noticed quite a few honeybees enjoying this early-season source of food. I also appreciate being able to look out my office window and see something so beautiful where empty branches stood just a week ago.
But it’s a worry, too. Is this a warning signal about a warming climate?
These famous trees that line the Tidal Basin typically bloom from March 26 to April 10.
I stopped by on April 11 and almost all the blossoms were off the trees because of a big windstorm the previous weekend.
I’m glad I had the chance to have my own mini cherry blossom festival.
This year the trees have already bloomed–a full two weeks ahead of schedule.
Last August I had the pleasure of touring one of the most delightful shade gardens I’ve seen. It gave me dozens of ideas for adding shade-loving plants to my landscape. Perhaps it will inspire you, too.
The towering trees that frame this stately Indianapolis property provide plenty of cooling shade in the summer…and offer plenty of gardening challenges. Instead of shunning the shade, the homeowners welcomed the opportunity to create a stunning landscape that didn’t take itself too seriously.
Gardeners know that planting in shade can be tricky because every shady spot is different. The key is to carefully match the plants to the site and to each other. This striking combination of chartreuse hostas and violet impatiens does just that.
The gardens featured more than just a nice selection of shade plants. Marble statues, tall metal obelisks and other garden art added interest and even a touch of whimsy. I especially enjoyed the choice of ornamental grass to offset the stern expression on this planter’s face.
All you have to do is leave a comment with Timber Press, the book’s publisher, before Friday, December 2, 2011, at 4:00 p.m. Pacific time.
The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. A winner will be selected at random from all entries and announced by Timber Press on Friday.
After reading the introduction to Michael Dirr’s new Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs, I just have one thing to say: I want this guy as a neighbor.
I’d get the rare opportunity to watch a genius at the work of “garden-making” and see how some of his new tree and shrub introductions perform in the landscape.
Would you like to get to the root of how to plant trees for Arbor Day? Here’s tree planting information from “The Colorado Gardener’s Companion: An Insider’s Guide to Gardening in the Centennial State.”
Pity the poor trees in our semi-arid region. Intense, high-altitude sunlight, extreme fluctuations in temperature, lean soil, and drying winds create a most inhospitable environment. Because trees have such a difficult time growing in Colorado, every day should be Arbor Day here.
Did you know the average life expectancy of a landscape tree is less than ten years because of where and how it’s planted?
Most often trees are planted too deeply. Other times they receive too much or too little water while getting established. Many times they’re left to fend for themselves.
I’m curious…how do the cherry trees know the National Cherry Blossom Festival ended yesterday?
I was lucky to be in the neighborhood today, so I dropped in. There was one last tree in full flower. I spent many minutes enjoying the view during a quick stop near the Jefferson Memorial.
I can imagine how beautiful this line of cherry trees must have been a few days ago when all were blooming.
The city of Tokyo gave the trees to the city of Washington in 1912 and they’re planted along the Tidal Basin.
I’ve heard about the Cherry Blossom Festival for years and had hoped the blossoms would hang in there at least one extra day.
But when they’re scheduled to bloom from March 26 to April 10, I guess they really mean it.
It was a cold, gray day in my suburban Denver neighborhood yesterday until I spotted this immature Golden Eagle landing in a nearby tree. I was absolutely thrilled to be able to watch this big, beautiful bird for several minutes before it left its perch and soared away.
Apparently it likes my backyard habitat, certified by the National Wildlife Federation, because it was back again today. This time it perched in a tree closer to my house and directly above the bird and squirrel feeders. Mourning Doves landed close by, but the squirrels stayed snug in their nesting box until the eagle flew away.
I’ve seen some other interesting birds in my yard in the past including an American Kestrel, a Great Horned Owl, and a hawk that flew away before I could identify it. But this is my first eagle and I hope it stays around long enough for me to get a closer look.