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Garden Planning

Rome Was Not Built in a Day and Neither Are Most Home Gardens

No, Rome wasn’t built in a day and your garden will not be either. You can hire a contractor but I promise you that the life that lives in a garden is better off nurtured by you and your own vision of what it will be.

A contractor does the work for money. You will do it for love. In the end it will make all the difference.

My garden areas that surround my home have been developing for 30 years. I’ve added outdoor rooms where I serve dinner under a vine laden arbor hanging with begonias and wind chimes. Apple trees now provide an autumn harvest and all year round feed hummingbirds at the hummingbird feeders. (more…)

Exploring The Nature Around You

Exploring the Nature Around You

Exploring the Nature Around You

“Exploring The Nature Around You” consists of five 10-12 minute programs which cover the early breeding of frogs and toads, riparian wildlife, fields and meadows, bees and wasps, and backyard nature.

With stunning close-ups and an informative and entertaining narrative you’ll get a close look at frogs and toads mating, laying eggs, and the dangers they face as they go through their daily routines.

What are you likely to encounter on a hike along a river? Louisiana Waterthrush, Acadian Flycatcher, dragonflies and damselflies, fish and snakes are just a few of the creatures you’ll see.

You’ll be surprised at all the creatures that call fields and meadows home. From grasshoppers to birds, you’ll peer into their lives and learn why they prefer to live where they live.

What’s the difference between a bee and a wasp, social bees and solitary bees, a Bumble Bee and a Carpenter Bee? Why do some wasps sting people, while others apparently go on about their business ignoring humans?

And finally, you don’t have to go far to observe nature; it’s as close as your own backyard! Depending on where you live and how close you look, you never know what might show up in your backyard.

The DVD includes a bibliography and glossary as well as several bonus features. Two short videos take a look at the color red in nature, and bathing and preening in birds, both set to music. There are even a few outtakes. It’s both educational and entertaining.

Home schoolers as well as traditional students will especially appreciate this DVD for its simple approach. It can be used as a prep for field trips as well as a stand alone learning tool.

Although you WILL learn something by watching this DVD, you don’t have to be a student to enjoy it.

Run time is about 60 minutes including bonus features.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com’s standard return policy will apply.

Click Here For More Information

Hummingbird Gardens: Turning Your Yard Into Hummingbird Heaven (21st-Century Gardening Series)

Turning Your Yard into Hummingbird Heaven

Turning Your Yard into Hummingbird Heaven

Hummingbirds enliven your garden with their glittering colors and bold, inquisitive personalities, as they dash from one tempting bloom to the next.
In this handbook, Hummingbird Gardens: Turning Your Yard into Hummingbird Heaven, you will learn how to attract North America’s tiniest birds to your yard by planting flowers they love.

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Making Your Yard Attract More than Hummingbirds

So now you have this beautiful yard, brimming with flowering plants that attract hummingbirds—and also butterflies and the admiring glances of neighbors. What next?

How about putting the finishing touches on your hummingbird heaven by making sure you have pretty house signs, address signs, and/or address plaques? You want other hummingbird lovers to be able to easily find your house. And you want your house numbers and house address plaques to blend attractively with your house and garden, right?

If you have never given that a thought, now is a good time to think of it. Even as the hummingbirds fly south for the winter, we are about to start preparing for fall parties and winter holidays. You will probably have a lot more company, and many of them will be coming to your house for the first time. Good signs help them find you, and there is no reason for the signs not to be attractive.

Not to mention the delivery people bringing winter gifts you have ordered on line or through the mail. Making it easy to find your address can make the difference between packages arriving on time—or maybe not at all. (Ask me how I know.)

Don’t make delivery people guess which house is yours. They may guess wrong, and you may never get your package.

And while you are picking out house plaques, that is also a good time to pick out matching garden accessories to blend your garden decor. You never know. Maybe you’ll finally win Yard of the Month.

Meanwhile you and your hummingbirds will have even more beautiful surroundings for many years to come.

Hummingbird Nectar

Humming birds are found throughout the Americas including the Caribbean. Known for their hovering ability and unique ability to fly backwards, humming birds hover by rapidly flapping their wings at speeds up to 80 times a second.

The Bee Hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world at only 2 inches long and around 1. 8 grams.

The Giant Hummingbird is the largest hummingbird at 24 grams and approximately 8 inches long. They have the fastest metabolism of a birds and to sustain this they must eat their own weight and more in food daily. To do this they must visit hundreds of blooms a day to harvest the nectar.

They have long bills and tongues to reach deep into flowers. They are able to slow down their metabolisms when at rest, unlike most other high metabolism animals and this extends their lifespan which has been reported to be up to 17 years.

A Hummingbird Friendly Garden

To attract humming birds to your garden plant brightly coloured flowers and shrubs. Hummingbirds have very little sense of smell but are attracted to bright colours. Hanging a hummingbird feeder in your garden or on your patio will attract these lovely birds.

Annuals to plant include beard tongue, salvia, petunia, jewelweed, jacobinia, impatiens, and firespike. Perennial plants to attract hummingbirds include foxglove, hosta, hummingbird mint, lupine, yucca, cardinal flower, bee balm, canna and columbine. For trees and shrubs choose azalea, buddleia, cape honeysuckle, mimosa, weigela, flame acanthus, lantana, red buckeye and tree tobacco.

Do not use pesticides in your garden as, not only will they kill bugs and insects that the hummingbirds eat but any residue left on flowers could be ingested by them. Also provide lots of perching places as hummingbirds spend about 80% of the time resting on twigs, clothes lines etc.

Provide plants that will supply nesting materials to attract female hummingbirds. They prefer downy nesting material from trees such as eucalyptus and willow and from ferns, mosses and lichens.

Hanging brightly coloured feeders in your garden will attract the hummingbirds. A good ideas is to attach red ribbons that blow around the feeder. It is also a good idea to provide feeders at different heights as hummingbird species have different preferences.

Species that favor low growing plants will visit a feeder placed lower while species that feed on taller plants and shrubs will prefer to visit a feeder placed in a higher position. Hummingbirds are also very territorial and one hummingbird may defend a single feeder and prevent others from approaching. Place at least three feeders at different heights around your garden.

Hummingbirds love to bathe in the mist on leaves so you could place a mister close to any broadleaved plants to provide them with a bathing place.

Making Hummingbird Nectar

Make a sweet nectar by mixing together a cup of sugar and four cups of pre-boiled water. Cool and store in the refrigerator. Unused nectar can safely be stored for about a week. Thoroughly clean hummingbird feeders weekly by rinsing with a solution of one cup of vinegar to four cups of water then rinsing with plain water. Fill with the nectar and hang in a shady place. Do not use any food colouring or synthetic sweeteners or honey as it can ferment and have a fungus that is harmful. Change the nectar in your feeder all three days or more mainly in hotter weather.

Give the hummingbirds the food they love and a comfortable environment and they’ll visit our garden often.


How to Attract Hummingbirds & Butterflies

How to Attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies, by Ortho BooksHummingbirds and butterflies add interest, beauty, and enjoyment to a garden.

This book describes the characteristics, behavior, and needs of these creatures.

Plant-selection lists and necessary garden design elements are included, as are descriptions of the most common hummingbird and butterfly species.

Click Here For More Information

Making Your Hummingbird Garden Accessible

We all love watching hummingbirds gather around feeders on the porch or deck. Some days you may see several species vying for space.

Hummers are fierce little creatures. They will even run off bigger birds that try to get to the feeder. They are bold, bossy and fun to watch.

Hummingbirds have a very different life in nature, though. While they will snack by sipping nectar from flowers, wild hummingbirds mainly eat spiders.

Do you want to see a little more of their lifestyle: nesting, roosting at night, and eating spiders? If you do, planting flowering bushes that produce nectar is a good start. That attracts hummers to parts of your yard where they may want to nest. They need quiet nooks.

So now that you have created your hummingbird haven, how do you make it so that older people and those who are not very strong can safely get around in your yard to see them too? Muddy paths and wet grass can be slippery and cause a fall.

Gravel can also be slippery, too, and it hurts when you fall on it. Plus, it tends to migrate into the lawn, where it can be thrown by a lawn mower and injure people or pets.

How about putting in some attractive paved walks? The best, most durable and beautiful walks are made with paving stone. It just looks gorgeous, and it will outlast all of us.

You can even get matching patio pavers to create beautiful places to sit and watch nature. How about a little patio at the back of your yard, up under the trees where you can sit quietly and watch the hummers among the flowering plants?

And once you have that beautiful natural haven for watching hummingbirds, you may want to light it at night. A landscape lighting installation adds security as well as beauty to your hummingbird garden.

Have you ever seen a Luna moth, for example? They are well worth lighting up your yard to see.

Attracting Hummingbirds and Other Birds to Your Yard

A bird feeder or bird house is a great way to attract birds to your yard, patio or garden—and keep them coming back. Plus, bird houses and feeders can be decorative, adding style and charm to any environment.

Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbird feeders are designed to contain “nectar,” a cooked syrup of sugar and water that helps the tiny birds sustain the energy level needed to so their aerobatic feat such as hovering in mid air.

Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, because many of the flowers they naturally sip from are red or have red undertones to their flowers that hummingbirds can see (even if we humans cannot). Some people use clear feeders and dye the nectar red with food coloring to attract the hummingbirds. However, it is best for the birds if you use clear nectar and put it in a red feeder.

You should wash and refill hummingbird feeders at least weekly to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria and keep the hummingbirds coming back for more.

Other Bird Feeders

Many birds can be attracted by feeding them bird seed, suet, or mealy bugs. That gives us something to watch when the hummingbirds have flown away for the winter.

The feeders can be plain or decorative, depending on what you prefer. In many parts of the country it is worth investing in squirrel-proof feeders. Even if you do not mind feeding the squirrels, you may want to keep your furry pals from spilling the birdseed and making a mess on the ground below. You can buy squirrel feeders if you want to, to keep them happy, too.

Be sure to clean your bird feeders at least monthly to keep them clean, safe and attractive to birds.

Bird Houses

Bird houses are a good way to attract beneficial birds such as Purple Martins, which eat mosquitoes, and songbirds. Bird houses can also help protect certain threatened species, such as bluebirds, that have been losing their nesting areas at an alarming rate in recent decades.

Well-designed and well-placed bird houses can help protect nesting birds from predators, including squirrels, rats, snakes, and domestic pets like cats. Bird houses with entrances that are properly sized for smaller species can also exclude larger species that prey on their eggs or nestlings.

Besides being fun to watch, bird houses can also be beautiful to look at, even when the birds are not around. Designs range from tiny, natural-looking and unobtrusive to clever, stylish, artistic, humorous, large or whimsical.

For best results, though, buy from a bird house specialist so that you get the right house, designed for the birds you want to attract, preferably with instructions on the best way to position it. Different bird species have different needs and preferences.

You need to get the right kind of bird house and put it in the right type of location to attract the species or type of bird you want to attract. Otherwise they may just pass it by. Bird houses should be cleaned at least once a year.

Of Pools and Hummingbirds

Swimming pools are great features for attracting hummingbirds to your yard. The birds may not drink out of your swimming pool. They get all the water they need from but your hummingbird feeders.

But the moisture added to the atmosphere by evaporation from your swimming is good for the plants that attract hummingbirds. And, of course, you get to enjoy the beauty of blooming plants reflected in sparkling water. Just be sure to hang your hummingbird feeders where you can see them easily from the pool as well as from the house.

With a pool in your hummingbird garden, you get the fun and exercise of swimming, and the great social advantages and pleasures of entertaining—or just drinking coffee—beside the pool while watching the hummingbirds. Pools, flower gardens and hummingbirds are made for each other.

Swimming pools—or even small reflecting pools—do require some maintenance. You will need to apply pool chemicals periodically and either cover the pool with a net or scoop out leaves and blossoms that fall into it at certain seasons. But with the right supplies and accessories from doheny.com, pool maintenance can be easily kept to a minimum. And by ordering on line, you can have pools supplies and accessories delivered right to your door.

See, maintaining a pool does not need to be time-consuming. And the time you spend beside the pool watching your hummingbirds will make it all worthwhile.

Attracting Hummingbirds, Keeping Them Healthy and Happy

Attracting hummingbirds to your lawn, garden or patio is not too hard. Hang a red hummingbird feeder filled with sugar nectar in an open area that is easily accessible or them and safe from predators. If there are hummingbirds in your area, eventually they will find it.

Getting hummingbirds to stay around and getting migrating hummers to return year after year, however, takes a little more effort. If you want them to nest in your yard, you need suitable trees and a good population of spiders. That means you cannot spray with pesticides.

In certain parts of the country, especially in humid, forested areas near lakes and streams, spiders are considered pests. People install misting systems to keep spiders away from their houses and porches so that they will not clutter up the place with webs.

Spraying for spiders can be counterproductive for two reasons: Spiders eat flies, mosquitoes, and other flying pests, and hummingbirds eat spiders. In fact, spiders are the hummingbirds’ main food source.

So if you kill off the spider population near your house, your yard becomes less attractive to nesting hummingbirds. The spray may also be bad for the tiny birds. Do not spray for mosquitoes or wasps either.

Planting red, trumpet-shaped, nectar-bearing flowers also attracts hummingbirds. If you do that, be sure to plant them where you will be able to easily see the hummingbirds to come to drink from them. It can be a beautiful sight.

In dry areas, or during dry summers, lawn sprinklers help the flowers and provide drops of water on leaves for the hummingbirds. To save water in dry areas while maintaining lush flowers and foliage for the hummers, a drip irrigation system is efficient and economical.

So if you want crowds of hummingbirds around your feeders, and you want the chance of seeing a nest of baby hummers in your yard, be kind to spiders, plant the right flowers and plants, hang red hummingbird feeders (and keep them clean and filled with fresh nectar)—and irrigate for lush vegetation.

Then just sit back and watch the show.