Sunday, July 4, 2010

Zone 4 Early Summer Garden and Body Surfing Goldfish, Mom and Baby Blue Jay

Yesterday from the kitchen window I got to see a baby blue jay in a  birdbath. Quickly I grabbed my camera, opened the window a bit and used the zoom to capture this picture. Minutes later the mom fed the baby and quickly they flew off. Look closely and you will see the baby with its mouth open.
We made this birdbath by taking a plastic birdbath and plastering the bottom, the backside with leftover cement. I like to step into it and clean off the bottoms of my garden shoes. I keep the water clean for the birds and to keep the mosquitoes from multiplying. I wonder how many of us gardeners have had the West Nile Virus. I got it. It came on like a horrible headache with a high fever. I was sick in bed for about 3 days. Then I was fine, except for a bit of dizziness. Much later I had a blood test and it showed positive. So, I have antibodies to it and should be immune to it. But, I am still careful with avoiding mosquitoes!
Coreopsis grandiflora grows about 8” tall in the front hot borders. The Pink Primrose oenothera speciosa interweaves throughout  the front garden. When it is done blooming, I just yank out the flowers and stems. The roots live on to grow the next season.
I love the colorful yarrows. So easy care.
Red, white and yellow is my theme for my window box. In late July the hummingbirds come by and stay but a bit. I have trumpet vines and red flowers in hopes that they will stay bit and take nourishment on their way to warmer regions.
The first of the lillies
May Night Salvias grow and reseed freely throughout the front garden. IMG_0562 Last week only one water lilly was blooming. Yesterday we had 4. Notice the new leaves and the hail shredded leaves. The fish have a new game. They like to body surf over the bubblers. Especially the shorter bubbler. You can just tell they are having fun and enjoying their pond.  I hand feed the fish. When they see me they come to my feet. I wiggle my finger in the water and they come to me, sometimes giving me a “fishy kisses”.
IMG_0567 It’s hard to catch the fish in surfing action!
The front garden is blooming. Soon it will be time to do some serious deadheading. Kneeling in the soil with the scent of chocolate mint and roses mixed with lavender, dianthus and mock oranges makes it a reward and blessing that only a gardener knows.


  1. Your garden looks beautiful, everything looks so lush. Great pictures of the bluejays. Have a wonderful week.

  2. Beautiful garden and pictures. I get eaten up every day by mosquitoes, I bet I may have had it too ( West Nile ). thanks ! Gina

  3. Gloria - Great post! The blue jay momma & baby photo captures such a 'moment in time'!

    The front of your home is always so inviting & your parkway (between the sidewalk and road's edge) inspires me. I'm debating what I want to do with mine - something hardy and low maintenance. (Back to the sketchbook...)

    Happy 4th of July! --Shyrlene

  4. Beautiful Gloria,

    I love that front walk with all of the perennials on each side. That birdbath, wow, never thought of using a plastic one as a base.


  5. Garden of Threads - Thanks, It was being at the right place at the right time to catch that Blue Jay picture. I love my new Canon 120IS - It was not an expensive camera but I love the photos it takes.

  6. Antigue Art - Yes, I bet you have had it also. Essential oils tend to repel the mosquitoes. I recently found a repellant by Burt's Bees that is only plant oils mixed in vegetable oils. I really like it and the bees don't!

  7. Gatsby Gardens - Thank You! When people come up my walk, they usually walk slowly glancing on each side. That is relaxing.

  8. Shyrlene - If I could do my "parkway" garden again, I would go low, low flowering ground covers. I am trying to get the parkway like that, but I still have way too many perennials that grow taller and need deadheading.

  9. Gloria, your summer garden is so beautiful! I'm a salvia fan so I especially appreciate those cool purple blooms. How fortunate for you to witness the little blue jay. Sweet!!! And your pond is always a lovely site...I don't have space for one this size, but I'm definitely going to do some kind of water feature at some point. Your pond always inspires me!
    BTW, your garden looked wonderful in the garden tour photos. I'm certain it was a huge success!!

  10. Your cottage garden is fantastic, Gloria! Lillies are out of this world. The birdbath is great, what a wonderful idea!

  11. Hi Kimberly - Thank you! Blue jays have been raised around this garden for several years. If a cat comes in the yard the mother bird goes beserk, but she will let the baby be pretty close to me without getting upset. That is amazing

  12. Hi Tatyana, Thank you! I also love your Secret Garden

  13. Your last photo Gloria is like a scene out of a story book - your garden looks so pretty and everything has really grown too.

    If I had fish I would love to be able to get them eating from my hand too. But its always so good watching the little fledglings getting fed out and about in the garden. You might be interested in my Squatters Rights post - I've been journalling the little blackbirds here from eggs to fledglings.

  14. Hi Gloria;
    West Nile seems to only be a scary thing for the horses out here but I guess we can be none too careful. Love this idea for the birdbath. Or, even just a foot bath since I'm forever tracking mud into the house. Your gardens are lovely. :)

  15. Gloria, Everything is looking wonderful in your garden -- but I especially love those water lilies. Thanks for the simple idea for the birdbath. -Jean

  16. Your garden looks stupendous. jim

  17. You have such a beautiful little house Gloria and your awesome garden makes it look so inviting. I like your water lilly flowers. I doubt my growing season is long enough for me to attempt growing anything as pretty as them , especially this year.

  18. I thought you and your readers might be interested in a fully interactive version of the USDA hardiness zone map as well as individual maps for each state. The map for the entire US is located at:

    An example of a state hardiness zone map can be found at:

    There is also a zipcode to zone search.

  19. Wow, that hail really got the leaves, Gloria! An impressive contrast. And I love that the fishes go body-surfing over the jets of bubbles. So sweet. :) Of course they give you kisses for that (and many other things besides)!

    Congrats on capturing that jay baby asking for his lunch. Great photo! I heard a radio program from the local university that said jays and crows are suffering population declines recently, and pretty dramatically in our area. I haven't been able to find any further information about it, so I take the announcement cautiously, not as truth. However, we've seen very few jays in the woods this year. They are so pretty; aren't they?

  20. Your gardens are beautiful. I'd love to take a stroll through it and smell the scents along the way. Great idea for keeping the pond from freezing in the winter. I may try that this year.

  21. Looks amazing Gloria. Love the home-made bird bath. That's got to go on my list of things to do when it's not 100 degrees outside. Great pic of the blue jay too. Enjoy.