5faa9923c38fb1cdd04c7d4da0c1ab8b

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

Poinsettia tips
Shrubs Ron Vanderhoff

Poinsettia Pointers

Last year, about 41 million poinsettias were sold in the United States.
Roquette Arugula
Edibles San Diego Seed Company

Arugula - Roquette (Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa) Monthly Plant Care Calendar

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

Marigold - Pot (Calendula officinalis)…

9516 Coastal Sage Gardening
Pot Marigold Mohtly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Caribbean Copper Plant - Purple…

29038 Steve Brigham
Purple Caribbean Copper Plant Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Plum - Japanese (Prunus salicina) -…

8588 Steve Brigham
Plum Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Gardening Articles

Landscape Design Choices
Landscape and Design Ron Vanderhoff

Designing a Garden is an Outside Job

I saw the small group in the distance. There were three of them; one was clearly a designer of some sort, while the other two were homeowners, listening attentively.
Walking Stick

New Pest Walking through the Garden

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

Water Conservation & Cycads

30097
Default Image
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads is a family owned and operated business established in…

Flower Seed Planting time for coastal southern California

17127
Delphinium
Walter Andersen was kind enough to let us publish this seed planting chart from his…

Plant Recommendations

Romneya coulteri
Plant Recommendations Patrick Anderson

Companion Plants for Succulent Gardens - Southern California

Patrick Anderson's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Companion Plants for Succulent Gardens for Southern California.
Salvia 'Raspberry Truffle'
Plant Recommendations Andy Maycen

Salvia - Best Flower - Southern California

Andy Maycen's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Salvia - Best Flower for Southern California.

Aloes - Southern California

9804 Patrick Anderson
Aloe marlothii
Patrick Anderson's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Aloes for Southern California. 

Desert Trees for Arizona by Steve Plath

11054 Julie and Steve Plath
Steve Plath
Steve Plath's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Desert Trees.

Sun Perennials - Minnesota

19321 Marcie Forsberg
Nepeta Walker's Low
 Marcie Forsberg's Top Plant Recommendations: Favorite Sun Perennials.

Featured Plant Care

Poinsettia tips

Poinsettia Pointers

in Shrubs
Last year, about 41 million poinsettias were sold in the United States.
Agapanthus Monthly Plant Care Calendar

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

in Shrubs
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Alyogyne hakeifolia Monthly Plant Care

Hibiscus - Red Centered (Alyogyne hakeifolia) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Shrubs
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Orchid as a house plant

The Orchid as a Houseplant

in Orchids
Oooh La La—The Orchid as a Houseplant.

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)