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Birds and Blooms for Every Gardener

Birds and Blooms Magazine

Birds and Blooms Magazine

In spite of its name, Birds AND Blooms, I always thought of this magazine as concentrating on Birds. However, I’ve been looking at it from time to time and have come to  realize that it has lots of  good information for gardeners, too.

In fact, as we all become more aware of  the pressures on our environment, climate change, depredations of host environments for migrating birds,  and a  simple desire to attract those ‘flowers of the air” birds and butterflies to our garden, this magazine can be very useful. Features that focus on gardens, focus on those plants  that are going to attract those other beautiful “flowers.” Who can complain about that.

The current issue has a useful story about the wide variety of coral bells, heucheras, that are now available. I have written about these myself because of their many shades of foliage from green to gold, to burnished reds. I was intersted in color, but it is also true that hummingbirds enjoy coral bells. What a bonus. Another story reminds us that fall is a good time to plant perennials and makes it clear that while flowers and foliage may fade at this time of the year, roots are still going and growing strong. The soil is warm, and roots will continue to grow until it freezes. Besides, there are great bargains at garden centers and other businesses that sell potted perennials. As long as plants don’t look diseased they can be a great buy. Bring them home, give them a deep watering, and then plant them. Keep them watered because those roots are taking hold. You’ll have a great plant ready to bloom in the spring.

Right now you can get a free first issue by ordering at and get 8 issues for $12.98.  The holidays are coming and this is a great gift for gardeners – and birders.

First Day of Fall Colors – Shades of Change

Dawn on September 22, 2014

Dawn on September 22, 2014

The colors of the landscape on the first day of fall are shifting. Fall colors are  mutable, first draining and then gathering richness. The dawn sun on the trees across the field show the rustiness of the trees as the fresh green seeps away.

Maple reds arrive

Maple reds arrive

As I drove around on my errands I saw the different fall colors arrive in different ways, vibrantly on the treetops.

Birch branches

Birch branches

The low branches of the beeches are turning gold and if I look closely I can see the tiny pointy buds of next year’s leaves forming.

Golden riverside tree

Golden riverside tree

A single golden tree along the river set against the green hillside.


Maple leaves

Maple leaves

This small maple is being transformed from emerald to ruby, but you can still see the transformation is not  complete.

red leaves on a vine

red leaves on a vine

Soon reds will become more prominent. Already this weedy vine has a brilliant sash.

Schoolyard pumpkins

Schoolyard pumpkins

Rich gold is to be seen in all the local farmstands as the pumpkin harvest is set  out. These pumpkins are in the Hawlemont School garden.

What colors are changing in your landscape?

Bountiful Bouquet of Roadside Weeds

Bouquet of Roadside Weeds

Bouquet of Roadside Weeds

A bouquet of roadside weeds. My roadside. Quite lovely, don’t you think. Two kinds of aster, blackeyed susans, lots of goldenrod, tansy and a bit of a cheat – red highbush cranberry (Viburnam) berries and some rugosa rose hips. Mother Nature must love us a lot to give us these beauties in such abundance.

What’s Blooming on September 1 at the End of the Road

Thomas Affleck rose

Thomas Affleck rose

What’s blooming on September 1? As we acknowledge that even though it isn’t officially autumn, we notice the days are shorter, and a maple or sumac branch here and there has begun waving scarlet in the sunlight, the bloom goes on.  Thomas Affleck is the only rose, as usual, that has much to show at this time of the year, although there is a stray blossom here and there on the Rose Walk. The ruogosa hips are ripening.

Garden phlox and more

Garden phlox and more

This section of the North Lawn Bed is closest to the house. The garden phlox is putting on quite a show. Echinacea, Russian sage, and bits of lobela and dianthus are also still blooming.

Garden phlox and more

Garden phlox and more

In the middle of that bed more phlox is blooming as well as chelone, liatris, and The Fairy rose. Unseen is the blue toremia, my favorite new annual this year.

Helenium 'Mardi Gras' and phlox

Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’ and phlox

In the end of the bed Helenium “Mardi Gras is blooming with Phlox “Blue Paradise’, I think. I hope the Montauk daisy will bloom soon.


Yarrow, phlox, hydrangea

Yarrow, phlox, hydrangea

A bold yellow yarrow, a bit of phlox, aconite, a small annual daisy, toremia (again invisible) bloom in a tangleat the end of the South Lawn Bed.

Robustissima Japanese aneomone

“Robustissima” Japanese anemone

The Japanese anemone is just beginning to bloom, next to a small Joe Pye weed. The deer dined off this clump, but with a little luck I will still see a good show.

"Ann Varner' Daylily

” Ann Varner” daylily

The Daylily bank is pretty well done, but “Ann Varner” is bravely facing the end of the season.  Other bloomers, bee balm, Achillea ‘The Pearl’, potted cuphea, geraniums, and Love Lies Bleeding.

What’s blooming in your garden as we begin to feel the turning of the season?


Seeds and Seed Cases on Wordless Wednesday


Seeds and seed cases make something new to see in the garden. Coriander is the little round seeds left on the cilantro plants. That means cilantro/coriander is both an herb and a spice.

Cotoneaster berries

Cotoneaster (Co-tone – e – aster) berries are brighter than coriander.

Rose Hips

These rose hips are not the kind for rose hip jelly.

Columbine seed case

The tiny black seeds inside the petit columbine seed case will scatter themselves. More plants in the spring.


Milkweed seeds – three stages

This milkweed stem shows the seed pods three stages – closed, open with the seeds still tightly packed, and finally with with the seeds preparing to sail on their fluffy tails. In my efforts to welcome back monarch butterflies. I rarely weed out milkweed any more.

For more Wordlessness this Wednesday click here.

First of the Month Record – November 1, 2013

View from the bedroom window

The first of the month record is late – as usual – but things have been so busy here at the end of the road, with Halloween parties and the beginning of Christmas baking. Fruitcakes!  For the record, the first of the month felt like a tropical monsoon, with temperatures in the 70s, wind and lashing rain. The rain began during the night and  by the time the wind died down and the rain stopped at noon, we had two inches of rain, and had a sunny warm afternoon to enjoy.  You can see that my husband was able to get part of the field to the south mowed, but he fears our old tractor may have chugged its last.

The wind took down the last of the autumn leaves and this morning we are back to New England temperatures – 32 degrees at 7 am EST.


Even though I have picked several tiny bouquets, and we have had several frosts, these mums are still blooming. I am amazed.

Sheffied daisies and parsley

The Sheffies and parsley also remain untouched by the  weather. The sheffies began blooming so late in the season I feared they would not last long. I was wrong.

Holly with berries

Still, as I prepare to say good bye to the last vestiges of summer, my brilliant berried holly promises the joys of the winter holiday season. Last year there were hardly any berries at all so I am thrilled.

Not all the fall chores are completed, but I have hopes to do a little more before it is too cold. That is usually my position at this time of the year.

Frosty Morning – Sheffies Still Blooming


Sheffield daisies


We had our first real heavy frost, but the sheffies are undaunted.

Pink chrysanthemums

Neither are these pink mums. No real surprise – Sheffield daisies are just another mum. It is lovely to see them on this cold morning, with the sun beginning to shine brightly. I am thinking that it may be mild enough to work outside for a few more hours today. The garlic is planted, and many beds have been cleaned up – but not all.  There is still plenty to do.


Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day – October 2013


Thomas Affleck rose

On this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day in my Massachusetts hilltop garden we have  come through only one good frost, but the garden is slowly falling to sleep. Thomas Affleck is still blooming, and sporadic blossoms are still being thrown out by The Fairy, Meideland red and white, Hawkeye Belle and Knock Out Double Red.

The Fairy

Grandpa Ott

Grandpa Ott is a morning glory that is still blooming, in front of the house and down in the Potager, as we grandly call the vegetable garden. The Potager is still enjoying blooming annual salvia, annual gomphrena, zinnias, and Agastache ‘Cana’ which will definitely have to be divided in the spring!


Blue lobelia

The standard blue lobelia has been quietly blooming all summer long.

Japanese anemone

I love my Japanese anemone – and so do the deer. Not much is left of her.


‘Starlet’ spoon mums

‘Starlet’ spoon mum is struggling a bit, but I appreciate her golden face.

Purple aster

Fall is time for asters, but pink Alma Potchke is already gone.

Sheffield daisies

Sheffield daisies, sheffies, are wonderful strong growers that bloom into October. Mine have barely started. My Montauk daisies have also barely begun.


I will end the Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post with some sunny nasturtiums. The day itself promises sunny, and time to get  out and continue cutting back and cleaning the garden.

Thank you Carol for hosting  Garden Bloggers’s Bloom Day. I’ve gotten a headstart today but you’ll  be able to see what else is blooming all over the  country here.

Apple Harvest – Disease Resistant Liberty Apple

Apples – ready for pie, sauce and cake

My apple harvest is at high tide. The whole neighborhood has been talking about what a great apple year this is, so I am not alone.

Right now I am harvesting Liberty apples. We planted this Liberty tree in 1983. I think. We chose it because of its disease resistance. We have taken very little care of it, except for some not very expert pruning. This self-fertile tree continues to bear, and the fruit is remarkably unblemished with no spraying of any sort. It is a beautiful red apple, a Mcintosh hybrid and is delicious in hand, or in pies, crisps, and cakes. I make a pretty pink applesauce by boiling up cored apples with the skins, and  then putting the cooked apples through a food mill to get rid of the skins.


Pink Liberty Apple sauce

Krishna Amid the Autumnal Sumac

Krisha amid the sumac

Krishna – a closer view

Krishna is the eighth incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. He is often shown with his flute with which he seduces milk maids, but my Krishna’s flute has been lost to the ages. He is no less seductive.

For more Wordlessness this Wednesday click here.