Notes from the Garden, Part III

It happens this way …

With apologies to birders, I am not one. Of course I enjoy watching them zip around the yard but I’m not happy when they rev up their music at 4:15 a.m. outside my bedroom window or when three crows chase a hawk across the skies above our neighborhood. I imagine the former are excited that the sun will rise in less than an hour and hope the crows will not catch up with the hawk.

Anyway, three winters ago, my little heart ached at the thought the local birds might go hungry in forecasted snow. So out to the store I went and bought a feeder and some high quality birdseed. Every morning I’d look out the window expecting to see an orgy, filled with arias of gratitude in my honor. Nope! This is what happened:

To the songbirds who spurned my feeder

I’m confused. I thought when thistle filled

the Copper Triple Tube, we had a deal.

You’d breakfast in tranquility, spread notes

around our cul-de-sac, return

for evening snacks, and sing, of course,

your best for me. But I thought wrong.


You’ve scavenged through my annuals,

electing seeds – prosaic and alive –

in lieu of mixtures trendy and refined;

refused to jump from ground to rim

before the winter storms set in

to shut my garden down.


I’ve cut my loss and hurt, and stashed

the copper with my thistle sacks.

See the note tacked on the vacant pole:

We’re closed. Gone south. Enjoy the seedless snow.


My little cold-hearted heart finally melted this spring and I bought some songbird seed to augment my leftover thistle. After moving the feeder around the yard four times with hopes of enticing the critters, I finally found a spot – I thought – that was safe and shaded. Six weeks have gone by with a few visitors who knock the seed to the ground and eat from there. This morning I moved the feeder off its stand and watched a little bird stare at it and then at me. No breakfast yet for this little one, no arias for me!

To all you bird lovers and feeders out there, any suggestions?



Gladiola Update

These pink-trimmed whites just bloomed in another part of the garden and  have for three seasons. The question: Will they turn orange next year? Here’s hoping not!



Notes from the Garden, Part II

It happens this way …

Six years ago, I planted pink gladiola bulbs and was thrilled when they produced the most delicately colored stalks. Glads usually bloom twice a season in our climate, so I was dumbfounded when the second blooming produced orange flowers. As the seasons rolled on, the glads consistently started out as orange and then second-rounded as pink. Go figure.

Anyway, a poem grew from that experience.

A sonnet for plotting amateurs

Deep Pink, the package claimed and photographed

our dream of gladiola sprays. We mapped

three dozen bulbs around our pastel plots

as complements, we thought, to bright-eyed phlox,

petunias, asters, salvia and mums

and contrasts to the brooding firs we’d come

to love. But amateurs miss facts: bees

are un-enamored of this color scheme

and weak-kneed hummingbirds whir by

thumbing wings at pinks and blues and whites.

We’d only half a natural world until

some mischief rescued our design. It filled

our yard with orange glads in mid-July,

then shrugged with birds and bees, So labels lie.

Then, three years ago I planted glorious blue glad bulbs and was thrilled when


they maintained their rich color for three seasons – until this year. The blue turned orange! What mischief is playing with us?