American Goldfinch seed buffet: why I no longer deadhead flowers

While we've had birdseed feeders for years, we never saw birds eating seeds directly off of plants -- because there were no seeds for them to eat. In the past, I painstakingly cut spent flowers to keep the garden looking tidy. Each fall I cut back plants, again, to keep them tidy. Tidy gardens aren't … Continue reading American Goldfinch seed buffet: why I no longer deadhead flowers

Summer berries and Catbirds in the hedgerow

Our maturing hedgerow is becoming ideal bird habitat. As it fills in, it provides cover and nesting locations. It also has lots of fruit and insects to offer, which are important foods for our feathered guests. This year, the hedgerow even attracted a new bird species to our yard. Gray Catbirds In August, I began … Continue reading Summer berries and Catbirds in the hedgerow

Ornamental berries to brighten winter days

The native shrubs in our yard not only feature beautiful autumn leaves, they also produce colourful berries. Birds leave some kinds of berries alone until late winter, or even the following spring, because they aren't very tasty. These natural ornaments are a welcome pop of colour in our dreary brown or white snowy yard. Winterberry … Continue reading Ornamental berries to brighten winter days

Kaleidoscope of fall colours: native shrubs in our yard

In 2016, I began planting native shrubs around the perimeter of our yard to provide food and shelter for birds. Although most of the shrubs are small, they still put on a spectacular show each autumn. Their bright colours are a beacon to birds signalling where they'll find ripe berries, seeds, and nuts to eat. … Continue reading Kaleidoscope of fall colours: native shrubs in our yard

A great summer for Monarchs

This summer in Ottawa, I saw more Monarch butterflies in my garden than ever before. According to social media posts and news stories, it's been a great year for the eastern Monarch population (A flicker of hope in the insect world: firefly, Monarch butterfly numbers up). Common milkweed patch Throughout July and August, we saw … Continue reading A great summer for Monarchs

We’re baaaack!: bumblebees return to the garden

In mid-July, all of a sudden, bumblebees reappeared in my garden again. Hurray! Males and workers Numbers continue to increase as we now have males and workers in the mix. In late July, nesting queens switch from laying eggs that will become workers, to laying eggs that will become males and queens. Depending on the … Continue reading We’re baaaack!: bumblebees return to the garden