What's UP?

knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)April 7, 2006

What's peeking up through the ground in your woodland gardens? Mention your hardiness zone if you think of it. I'm also a birder so if you happen to mention what birds are visiting too, I wouldn't mind that in the least.


southern Ontario, CANADA

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Hello Barb,
I do not really have a woodland garden. I am in California
and what we have in my area is chaparral which are a bunch of shrubs that can handle the dry summers here. However I
have planted some Asarum californica out in my front yard
which is a sort of wild garden-though some people are put off by my allowing so-called weeds to grow (reason is to give insects a change to grow and reproduce) and the wild
ginger is peeping through the litter of my Catalina Ironwwod Tree (Lyonothamus floribundus) that has exfoliating bark and neat looking leaves.
I also like birds and have just this winter been putting out
bird seed for whomever. Mostly finches-sparrows but the occasional Chaparral Jay and of course Mockingbirds. I have not seen these in a while since we have had some very rainy periods. I was lucky to spot a flock of Cedar Waxwings come through and feed on a plant that I have that has lots of little red berries on it and I got to watch them eat the berries (cannot think of the name of the plant at this time!). Also do have hummingbirds in the area and one even came up to just about 6 inches from my nose to check me out. It was very cool! I have an old pool in my back yard that leaks so bad that if I don't add water it will dry up but I often just run a stream of water so the hummers will have some to drink. I also see Audoban Warblers that come into my yard and feed on the flying insects. There are other little warblers that come in-I would have to dig up my bird book and try and id them. My favorite birds that come into my yard are the goldfinches: American, Laurence, and Least. At this time only a small troop of Laurence Goldfinches make it by every year. I grow a plant call Oenothera hookeri that is a biennial and it can grow up to
eight feet tall and has seed pods that split open down the sides. The finches will rest on the stems and strip the sides of the seed pods down when they are ripe and eat the very tiny seed. Sadly there used to be lots of these birds coming by but human development has destroyed much of their feeding areas and those that survive probably do so by migrating along the mountains or closer to the coast.
One interesting bird experience that I have had that I would like to share is regarding a night heron.
Many years ago during a very violent stormy time I discovered a young night heron hiding in my backyard. At that time my backyard had 3 in-ground ponds where I had cattails growing and there was plenty of cover for the bird.
Will it stayed around for about 3 days and I think it ate some of my goldfish-maybe most of my goldfish! Anyhow just a few years ago when I came home from work I looked on the top of my house and there was this troop of night herons fluttering just above my roof! I bet it was the juvenile all grown up with his family!!! It makes me believe that birds do remember!
As far as my wild garden is concerned I grow almost everything in pots. I do have a Canyon Sunflower (Venegasis carpesoides) that is flowering-has small daisy like yellow flowers. And I just noticed a plant of Potentilla egedei, which is another California native species related to the strawberry but with yarrow shaped leaves, putting out a flower bud that will turn into a solitary yellow flower like a strawberry flower. And I believe that that is it for now. Not your Eastern type garden but it works for me.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 12:20AM
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What's peeking up in Hamilton is trillium (luteum leaves have already unfolded, grandiflorum isn't quite unfurling yet), virginia bluebells, trout lilies, wild ginger, and toothwort.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 7:07AM
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Blood root have just opened, trillium erectum, cutleaf toothwart, pasque flower, bluebells, celandine poppy, shooting stars, blue cohosh and the first plant to bloom in my garden - pulmonaria. That pulmonaria blooms all year until frost. Birdwise, I have alot of woodpeckers, though I have them all year, I am starting to see more pileated at my feeder. In addition there are blue birds, gold finches, house sparrows, titmice and chickadees. I haven't noticed much migratory bird action yet. I live in zone 6 in central PA.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 10:17AM
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kwoods(Cold z7 Long Is)

Bloodroot, hepatica, trout lilly all blooming. Trillium, mertensia, asarum, ladyslippers, shooting stars, squirrel corn, dutchman's breetches, cranesbill, some asian jacks all showing. Tiarella putting on new growth. Cinnimon ferns sending up their fuzzy fronds. Azalea buds FAT too.

Sparrows and chickadees in nesting boxes, cardinals, bluejays, junco, nuthatches, titmice, downy/hairy woodpeckers still at feeders. Saw a couple carolina wrens yesterday. Not many robins yet.

Spring finally done sprung on LI.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 11:54AM
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About the only native is wild onion and skunk cabbage though there are a few tiny violet leaves. Snowdrops, daffs, glory of the snow. Gold finches are still in olive drab but the white throated sparrows have arrived. A red-tailed hawk was sitting up in a tree overlooking the parkway, waiting for a wood chuck or rabbit to stick its head out.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 8:21PM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Wow! You guys (even Hamilton 45 minutes away) are ahead of us by a bit. We've *JUST* had trillium leaves poke up yesterday. Between morning and dusk they came right up out of the ground, it was bizarre. Until then, all we had were tips of Trout Lily and a few of the hardier ferns like the native "Christmas Fern" and the non-native "Holly Fern" which isn't in my woods but is up against my house. As of today not much more has happened except that the trilliums (erectum and grandiflorum) are a bit taller and look to be just starting to unfurl a bit. None of the trees or shrubs are in a great hurry to bud-out, even my beech which is one of the earlier ones is still holding it's buds tightly shut. Today was lovely and warm so maybe things will pick up if we have a few more days like today. Forecast calls for rain tomorrow which might also help as we've had very little rain to speak of and a mostly dry winter as well.

As for birds, we've had a slow turnout so far. Loads of Goldfinches and it's lovely to see them changing back to their bright yellow feathers so quickly but otherwise the pick'ins have been slim. We've had male and female cowbird, starlings (hate'em), downy woodpecker, dark-eyed junco, housefinch male and female, mourning doves (yawn) and that's about it really. The squirrels have spent more time at the feeders than the birds almost ;o) And this year I'm praying for a little house wren to come back. Last spring one little wren visited my backyard and bobbed around the birdhouse for a few minutes but he didn't stay so this year I'm hoping he'll at least come back for a visit.

Thanks to everyone who's replied thus far... I really love reading the bird sightings as well :o)


    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 10:12PM
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wyndyacre(z6B SW Ont.)

Hi Barb-the bloodroot I got in trade from you last summer is up. I'm still waiting on those HUGE jacks I got from you to pop up. I have some jacks in the greenhouse that are already flowering-I bought the corms at the Stratford Garden Festival.
I have 7 redbed trees all just loaded with fat buds. I grew them from 12" saplings to now over 5 and 6 feet. This will be the first year they have really bloomed well-last year they weren't quite mature enough. I can hardly wait to see them flower.
Birdwise we have cowbirds, redwing blackbirds, goldfinches in full colour again, chickadees, nuthatches, redbreasted and downy woodpeckers, flickers, cardinels, blue jays, morning doves etc at the feeders. The juncos are still hanging around. I just hung my hummingbird feeders yesterday. I'm ready!
We have lots of nesting wrens here. I've put up lots of wren houses and a few get occupied. Of course the males build nests in all of them and the females pick out their favourites.
A month ago there were great flocks of tundra swans flying over my house on their way to feeding areas near Grand Bend.
Went to Arizona a few weeks ago and visited the San Pedro River Riparian Perserve which is famous for birding. Saw scores of brilliant red vermillion flycatchers. Also golden warblers, great tailed grackles, Mexican jays and flocks of American coots at Parker Canyon Lake.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 9:42PM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Yes, my bloodroot has just bloomed as well, the Jacks are not in sight yet but the Dog Toothed Violets and Trilliums should bloom any day now. It's been pretty cool here so the trees/shrubs are slow to unfurl their buds. The Serviceberries are close though and since they are one of my favourite shrubs, I'll be pleased to see them open up. The spireas are gorgeous and red and the false spirea is just about in full leaf already. Oh and the Virginia Bluebell's just poked their noses out of the soil last weekend :o)

southern Ontario, CANADA

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 11:45PM
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