Now that winter is swiftly approaching, the chill is already in the air - the garden has been closed for the winter. The plants have shed their leaves, the grasses have seeded and turned their winter colors and the garden is still busy.
The plants may have hunkered down for the winter, but with the bird feeders out, the garden has been active with birds of all kinds visiting the feeders. FeederWatch has begun.
FeederWatch is a yearly program by Cornell University as a citizen scientist program to gather information about birds that visit feeders. The library began participating in the program last year and it brought a lot of joy to see these mostly little birds flitting about the grounds outside. We've decided to participate again. While we can't have kids and families participate like they did last year, but sitting in the windows and identifying birds and counting, you can still see the FeederWatch activity and keep track of our count. Just visit FeederWatch in the menu.
We had some garden gnomes visit to help us with the fall planting. While we may have had some struggles this summer with bunnies, drought and heat, we're not giving up. So we planted a variety of butterfly and hummingbird friendly plants including 3 varieties of bee balm and milkweed. Our gnomes were very helpful with removing some bittersweet, harvesting milkweed pods and their seeds. Plus they dug holes, planted the seedlings and sprinkled milkweed in our new garden spaces. We greatly appreciate all their help!
While our new garden at the moment is too young (and too chewed) to support pollinators, doesn't mean that other areas of the library grounds aren't thriving. So we will be doing our annual butterfly release. We purchased extras this year to make the release special. So we will be releasing a possible total of 24 butterflies if all goes well. So yesterday our caterpillars finally arrived, you can stop by the library to watch their growth or follow them on Facebook or here in the Garden blog
But this year we've done something special. As part of the Greening program we purchased an additional 30 butterflies for kids to take one home. During our Butterfly Dance program (click Activities to register for this event) you will learn to make a butterfly house and have a caterpillar to take home with you. Any butterflies that don't get homes, will be added to the library's own butterfly release. The date will be announced based on butterfly emergence so keep an eye out for that date.
Well we proclaimed victory to soon. It is quite clear that the bunnies have won the Bunny Battle.
Now don't get me wrong the chili powder sprinkled over the plants does work, but you have to reapply right away after every rain. Unfortunately with the library closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday there was time for the final sneak attack. Last Thursday we sprinkled the plants with chili powder and left for the day. Friday rained almost all day and as a result the chili powder was washed away. Sometime Saturday or Sunday the bunnies came and ate the last of the coneflowers. It was a clear and apparent victory for the bunny.
The plant on the left has a few leaves so it may survive but for right now it's just to hot to try to replant new flowers. So we will wait till next year and try to replant the flowers we lost and I think we'll have to do a combination of fencing and chili powder. So we may have lost the battle this year, but the war will continue!
So we have won the bunny battle, for the most part. Sprinkling chili powder over the plants on a regular basis (especially after rain) is winning I think. I spend a lot of time sprinkling chili powder. Unfortunately we did loose some plants to the bunnies - all the milkweed and the black-eyed susans are gone. I think the cone flowers will survive but only time will tell.
But that's not the real reason for the post. It's the time of year to deal with weeds. Yup, weeds. There's not much else to say. All that glorious rain also sprouted all the weeds and there are a lot of them. Unfortunately the weed battle is continuous and you can only win by getting in the garden and pulling them out. It's a lot of work. All I can say is wait till the weeds are good sized, that may mean there are a lot more, but it's easier to pull weeds when you can grab a fist full rather than pinching.
Of course if things are as bad in your garden as they are in the library's, (cursed crab grass) a trowel or garden rake is the only way to go. So if anyone wants to stop by the library and help us pull weeds, we'd be more than grateful.
Every gardener loves the rain because it means we don't have to water the garden. In our case especially as with no outside spigot we have to carry jugs of water out to the garden. It takes about 2 gallons to water the plants, then another 2 gallons of water to fill all the bottle reservoirs. Needless to say we all love it when it rains.
We are planning to install a rain barrel (if it ever arrives) which will make watering all the more easier. Of course all this glorious rain is falling and we have nothing in which to collect it in....yet!
This project was made possible in part by a grant from the RI Office of Library and Information Services using funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
All Back Layout Before Bunnies Bunny Strategy Butterflies Caterpillars Credit Gadget Garden Prep Grass Removal Hummingbirds Insects Plants Pollinators Programs Rain Rain Barrel Water Weeding Weeds Welcome