Spring is slowly arriving

Cardinal visiting Overlook Falls

Garden season is upon us! I hooked up the water feature at the end of March, and didn’t realize how much I missed it until I started hearing the sound again. It’s hard to believe we’ve had the water feature for a year already! I’ve been very happy with it and it’s a great addition to our wildlife habitat.

Newly painted garden shed

Also I finally got around to painting the shed, which is something I should have probably done a few years ago. The paint was really flaking off and it had become an eyesore. I wanted to get that done before the garden started growing in, so that was my first yard project of the year. Hopefully that should give it a few more years of life before we have to eventually replace it.

White throated sparrow in the garden

It seemed like it would be an early spring with warm temperatures in March, and then April was up and down with some warm days, and then cold rainy days. We got almost 4″ of rain during the month of April, but temps during this last week have been in the 30s and 40s, and we even had a few snowflakes mixed in with the rain.

This pine warbler is another early spring migrant passing through

The rain is good for the garden, since we had a pretty dry winter. For migrating birds, this has caused a little bit of a backup, mainly with white throated sparrows and yellow-rumped warblers. Actually we are hosting the most white throated sparrows I’ve ever seen, and they’ve been with us about a week. We also have many yellow-rumped warblers which are all over the yard and visiting our suet feeders. During this time I’ve scattered seed, suet pellets and dried mealworms all over the garden each day.

Chickadee eggs in the backyard nest box

Bluebirds have been investigating our boxes, but so far no takers. The backyard box in the pine trees once again has 8 chickadee eggs in it. The Peterson box I put up in the front last year for bluebirds also has a chickadee nest! I was surprised by that, but I found 4 egss and the chickadees have aggressively defended their nest from curious bluebirds. Once I realized there were eggs, I quickly put up a hole reducer. Maybe bluebirds will get a chance after the chickadees are done.

Marsh marigold growing in the water feature

In the garden, some of our early spring flowers have already started blooming. Prairie smoke, pussytoes, wood poppy, marsh marigold, Virginia bluebells, and of course our serviceberries. We haven’t seen much in the way of pollinator action yet due to these cold temps. I’ve been out doing some work, putting down wood chips, already pulled some garlic mustard and am still battling creeping Charlie in the back. I probably won’t do a ton of planting this year, but I’m very interested in adding Pennsylvania sedge to replace some areas of the back lawn, and also plant a small rain garden in the back where the slopes naturally converge into a low area.

The garden will be on the Wild Ones Prairie Edge fundraiser tour this summer, on August 13. First time on the “big” tour. So it will be another busy season of preparation, but it’s good motivation and something to look forward to. I’ve already gotten requests about what’s become my popular garden social (just a casual open house to celebrate the garden) so I’m thinking we’ll do that again near the end of July. I always enjoy having people over and hopefully it gives them some knowledge and inspiration to create their own wildlife garden.

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