0d66c4fbe65f74a3384aa8a593bea81f

I’ve probably never met a gardener who didn’t also enjoy the delightful sounds and sights of warblers, wrens, bluebirds and thrushes in their garden.

 

A healthy, diverse garden will always encourage a few feathered friends, but the abundance of birds will be far greater with just a little planning.

In local gardens it is fresh water that is the most overlooked ingredient in a bird friendly garden. In our arid, summer-dry climate it is fresh water that may do more to attract birds to a summer garden than anything else. Unlike bird feeders and bird houses, which are specific to certain birds, fresh water is enjoyed by almost all birds: orioles, doves, hummingbirds, flycatchers, wrens, woodpeckers, finches, sparrows and more – and it’s free.

Post_7-24-10_1
Purchase a 4” post. I prefer Trex lumber which is rot resistant and hollow (available at lumberyards like Ganahl). Cut it to about 5 feet and sink 18 inches into the soil.
Saucer_7-24-10_2
Buy a terracotta saucer at least 20 inches in diameter, 24 or 30 inches is even better and will support several birds at one time. It does not need to be glazed.
Insert_7-24-10_3
I found a piece of plastic drain pipe that fit perfectly inside the hollow post. A section of a thick wooden tree stake or wood dowel could also be used. Cut it to about 12 inches.

 

Assembly_7-24-10_4
Glue the section to the bottom center of the saucer. This will prevent the saucer from falling off if hit by a child, a cat or a daydreaming gardener.
With_Water_7-24-10_5
Just fill the tray with water and change it once a week or as needed. A few dark stones or pebbles in the bottom will make the water even more inviting.
In_Garden_7-24-10_6
I made two trays, one for seed and one for water at slightly different heights. This allows me to adjust to extra seed or extra water as the seasons change.

 

Wild birds need a continuous supply of fresh clean water at all times of the year, both for drinking and bathing. A source of water can dramatically increase the number of wild birds you attract in your backyard. Birds that may not visit your feeder or bird houses will come to your water supply.

In my own garden I supply fresh water in a shallow tray, out of reach of cats. My method is inexpensive to make, natural in appearance and can be assembled by almost anyone in less than an hour.

Here’s a simple, effective way to add fresh water and attract even more birds to your garden:

It is important when adding a water supply that the water depth is no more than a couple of inches deep and that the edge has a gentle slope, so birds can land and then wade slowly into the water. Anything deeper and birds will avoid it. My simple terracotta tray makes it a snap to occasionally remove the top and give it a scrub. The rough bottom surface also gives birds better footing than does a slippery glazed surface.

Birds are attracted to the sound of dripping water or by movement on the surface of water. A dripper can be made out of an old one liter soda bottle pricked with a needle and concealed in a tree overhanging the water. Perhaps I’ll explain making one of these in a future column.

In my terracotta saucer I later added a “water wiggler” to the center. The ripples caused by these devices draw birds to the water like a magnet. This simple device sits in the center of the water and creates little ripples as it spins. These inexpensive devices are available at wild bird specialty stores and operate for about six months on two D-cell batteries.

rvanderhoff

Ron Vanderhoff is the Nursery Manager at Roger’s Gardens, Corona del Mar.

Questions from Readers July 24.

Question:

A friend who specializes in growing home fruits told me about a new blueberry variety called ‘Bountiful Blue”. When will it be available?

Robin, Laguna Beach

Answer:

‘Bountiful Blue’ is a new blueberry for local gardens that I’ve been testing at home in my own garden. It’s self fruitful and a heavy producer, with great flavor and amazing blue-green foliage that turns brilliant purple in winter. Look for the first few plants at nurseries this fall.

Assembly_7-24-10_4

Plant Care Reminders

Agapanthus Monthly Plant Care Calendar
Shrubs Julie Bawden-Davis

Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus africanus) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Heirloom Tomatoes
Edibles Sandie Parrott

Heirloom Tomatoes “Interview with an expert“ Bill Pioch

Gardener, farmer and gourmet cook at heart, Bill Pioch, owner of Nature’s Heirlooms in Lapeer, Michigan, is an expert tomato grower.

Iris douglasiana - (Douglas Iris) -…

7194 Julie Bawden-Davis
Douglas Iris
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Hibiscus - Lavender Chiffon ( Hibiscus…

36664 Proven Winners
Hibiscus Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

How to Prune Azaleas and Other Spring…

27455 Kate Copsey
Pruning spring shrubs
Spring is almost over in the south, and those wonderful blooms that lit up the landscape…

Gardening Articles

Cool Season Plants
Seasonal Gardening Ron Vanderhoff

Cool or Warm, Plants have a Preference

All day at local nurseries, the questions come every few minutes; “Why are my aeoniums shriveling?
Celebrity Roses Crossword Puzzle
Crossword Puzzles Garry Shirts

Puzzle #8 - Celebrity Roses

Print this and take a few minutes and have some fun trying to figure this crossword puzzle out. Let us know if you have any suggestions for new puzzles. Be sure not to peek!

New Pest Walking through the Garden

11157
Walking Stick
A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a Costa Mesa gardener.

Sisso Doyle - Southwest

8403
Sisso Doyle
Region: Southwest

Whose Garden is it anyway, mine or the Wrens?

3421
House Wren
At the time, I was watering a young plant that I had just put in the ground.

Plant Recommendations

Ajuga reptans 'Black Scallops'
Plant Recommendations Susi Torre-Bueno

Colorful Foliage for Shady Areas - Southern California

Susi Torre-Bueno's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Colorful Foliage for Shady Areas for Coastal Southern California.
Vinca minor
Plant Recommendations Carole Brown

Plants From Hell! - Southern California

Carole Brown's Top Plant Recommendations: Plants from Hell! (not really recommendations)

Purple Plants - Southern California

19227 Bill Teague
Heliotropium arborescens 'Fragrant Deligh'
Bill Teague's Top Plant Recommendations: Favorite Purple Plants for Southern California.

Subtropical Fruit Trees - Southern…

20069 Richard Frost
Hass Avocado
Richard Frost's Top Plant Recommendations: Favorite Subtropical Fruit Trees for Southern…

Wax Begonias With Bigger Flowers for…

31515 Chris Eirschele
Begonia volumia
Chris Eirschele Top Plant Recommendations: Wax Begonias for Shade and Container Gardens.

Featured Plant Care

Pyracantha Monthly Plant Care

Firethorn (Pyracantha spp) - Monthly Plant Care Reminders

in Shrubs
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Hong Kong Orchid Monthly Plant Care

Bauhinia x blakeana 'Hong Kong' (Hong Kong Orchid Tree) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Trees
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Plant Care for Perennials in Zone 24

Plant Care Recommendations - Perennials - Sunset Zone 24

Do you live In coastal southern California? Do you grow any of these plants?
Amaryllis

The Amaryllis - A Class Act

The poinsettia, the Christmas cactus and paperwhites are lovely holiday blooms, but the…

Latest Articles

Edit Your Tagged Photos!

How to Edit or Remove A Plant "Tag" In Your Garden Photos

Instead of 'Tagging' your friends on Facebook, now you can 'Tag' your Plants in your…
Seed Starting

10 Easy Cut Flowers to Direct Sow

in Seeds
A cut-flower garden or "cutting garden" allows you to bring the beauty of your garden…

Popular Articles

Baseball Field Maintenance

Baseball Field Maintenance - A General Guide for Fields of All Levels

in Lawn
More great baseball field resources can be found here (including a pdf version of this…
Queen Palm Care & Use

The Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) Care & Use

in Trees
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads is a family owned and operated business established in 1977
Microgreens

What are Microgreens and How to Grow Them

in Edibles
Microgreens are tiny leafed vegetables that are grown from seed and require very little…
Kahili Ginger Plant Care

Hedychium gardnerianum (Kahili Ginger) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

User Guides (Slide)

Popular Recommendations (Slide)