Last fall many of us who feed the birds noticed that we had fewer birds and fewer varieties of birds at the feeders. It seemed to carry through the winter too. However, with the arrival of spring I have noticed a much wider variety of birds than I have ever experienced before. I'm not sure it is because I have more bird feeders or if there is another reason.
Last night I noticed this little warbler flitting from branch to branch in my chokecherry tree. I thought he was eating the buds of the chokecherry blooms, but with some further reading it seems he may have been nabbing spiders and insects.
This tiny warbler is called a Northern Parula (Setophaga americana). According to All About Birds this bird migrates and spends the winter in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America and returns to northern areas to breed in the summer months.
The Northern Parula does not typically visit bird feeders, but this one seems to enjoy the trees my bird feeders are hung in. I suspect that tiny insects attracted to the budding chokecherry blossoms are providing a tasty meal.
I recently found this wire/metal basket at a secondhand shop and purchased it for a few dollars. I immediately had visions of lining it with moss and using it as a planter.
Last night, I gathered moss from the nearby woods and and lined the basket using care to press the moss into the wire so that the entire basket was lined.
Next, I filled the cavity with humus-rich soil that would hold moisture and keep the moss moist.
I then added some seedlings from my greenhouse and tucked them firmly into the soil. As you can see, I used pastel-pink and white petunias with a small dusty miller for contrast.
Today I will visit the plant nursery for a a small trailing plant to spill over the sides. I'm thinking of pale blue Lobelia or white Bacopa, but I may change my mind, depending on what other other flowers I find.
I topped the planting off with a few stones and tucked moss into any openings to cover the soil.
This planter will need to be displayed in a shaded or semi-shaded area and kept moist to keep the moss from drying out, but I have just the spot for that. I will tuck it into a corner of my garden that receives morning sun and falls into the shade by late morning and gets indirect light for the rest of the day.
I have learned from experience that even though full sun is recommended for petunias, mine do remarkably well with several hours of early-morning light and afternoon shade.
I am looking forward to watching this basket of flowers grow