Welcome to my Bird Blog!

Welcome to all my fellow bird lovers and gardeners! I'm so glad you stopped by.

Migratory bird populations have taken a nose dive in the past 40 years. But you can help bring their numbers back by creating beneficial, beautiful and fun habitats in your own backyard. Discover favorite plants and environments that shelter and feed colorful songbirds, as well as how to make them feel welcome by offering their preferred natural foods.

Grandma Pearl
(Connie Smith)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Raspberry Finches, Purple Violets, Lavender Lungwort and more

Think Pink. . . And Purple!


Beautiful Flowering Quince.  This bush doesn't mind being in partial shade.  The soil is moist at times, but it doesn't mind that either.  Its shoots will spread all around the perimeter of the bush.  This is an ornamental shrub of the rose family, complete with thorns!  Regular quince produces fruit that can be preserved as marmalade.  The beautiful flowers remind me of old-fashioned roses.  A reliable plant that produces year after year.

Raspberry Finch, also known as Purple Finch.  This handsome bird is about 6" in size, and is similar to the House Finch, which I think is more of an orange color.  Their warbles are bubbly and make me smile.  Currently I have a large flock that visits my feeders every day.  Their favorite food seems to be the black oil sunflower seeds.  The purple finches arrived in late March and have been serenading me daily ever since.  Female purple finches are heavily streaked with brown, which is an excellent camouflage when they are nesting and tending their nestlings.  Look for their notched tail and cheerful songs.   
 My Crabapple is just getting ready to bloom I planted it last year in the hopes that it would eventually set fruit and attract a whole bunch of birds.  Grosbeaks, Tanagers, Warblers, Orioles and Cedar Waxwings all love fruit.  When you think about it, they live in the tropics all winter.  So their food sources are tropical fruits.  Another favorite is mulberries, which I also added to my garden last year.  This year I also planted Concord grapes...another irresistible treat for the birds. 

 Purple Salvia is a hands down favorite of bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, as well as hummingbird moths.  It is a perennial that I have included in all my gardens.  Today I saw bumblebees, bee flies, hover flies and little sweat bees sipping nectar from the newly-opened flowers.  Salvia is easy to grow in almost all conditions.  It prefers full sun, but will tolerate some shade.  There are many varieties and colors from which to choose.  This one compliments my blue salvia, as well as the scarlet and black and blue varieties.  They will be flowering by the end of May.

 These are the burgundy and green leaves just emerging from my pink cloud spirea plants.  I originally transplanted one from my Mom's garden where it was very well behaved.  However, in my shady woods it has sprung up literally everywhere.  It is not bothered by deer, rabbits, bugs or slugs.  The flowers will bloom after the lilacs have finished flowering.  Favored by the beneficial insects and butterflies, its flowers are tiny clusters that make an almost-flat landing  pad for the butterflies and bees.

Diminutive and dainty purple woodland violets are just beginning to crop up in the strangest places.  This one is growing in my stone driveway!  They are obviously not fussy at all about soil or moisture because this is a very dry area.  In Christian symbolism violets represent modesty and humbleness.  It is said that violets spring up from the graves of saints and virgins.  Folktales from England and France often associate violets with death and the mourning of loved ones who have passed.

Lungwort is such a strange-sounding word for this dainty flower with its interesting speckled leaves.  My aunt gave me several of these plants, which have since spread out to be a very pretty part of one of my cottage gardens.  It is a medicinal herb of the borage family, and its other name is Pulmonaria.  As you can imagine, it is excellent for clearing the lungs of congestion and relieving symptoms caused from viral and bacterial infections affecting the lungs.  Flowers begin as pink in color and turn to blue with pink centers as they continue to bloom.  It was originally named because the leaves resembled the lungs and not because of its medicinal use.

Barberry with its burgundy leaves and thorny spines, also produces small pinkish-white flowers that eventually become small fruits.  The berberine made by this plant is turned into an antibacterial compound.  
I placed my barberry plants on the outside perimeter of my cottage garden fence.  They protect plants like lilies from the deer that like to think my gardens are their private salad bars!   
This plant likes full sun, but will tolerate part shade.  Mine face the morning sun and receive afternoon shade.  I gave it organic-rich soil and keep it watered during dry spells.

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