|Female American Cardinal in my Garden|
The January garden wavered between breathtaking beauty when covered with snow and boring dullness when the snow thawed. Sadly, this winter there were more days of the latter. With a lack of blooms, backyard birds become the stars. While the red feathers of the male cardinal make it an obvious favorite, I also love the muted colors of the female. The cardinal reminds us that it is nearly time for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) -- the male cardinal is the poster child of this year's GBBC. Click HERE for all the information you will need to join in the fun of this important activity.
|A male American cardinal at our heated water dish|
|An adorable female American Cardinal|
|When covered with snow the garden was beautiful|
|A more dull-looking scene when the snow was gone|
In the picture above there is a large bird on the top branch of the weeping cherry tree. Can you see it? It is a red-shouldered hawk with it's eye on the koi pond.
|Red shouldered hawk on the weeping cherry tree|
|Two hawks on the frozen pond|
Duane said the hawks were ice fishing. Not funny. Fortunately, the koi are too deep in the bottom of the pond for the birds to reach them.
|The pond today is frozen. The bubbler is providing aeration for the fish. No need for the heater yet.|
We will need to do repair work on the pond in the spring: As you can see from the following picture, the water level is several inches down. We believe there is a leak around the skimmer, as the water does not fall below it. The repair job is at the top of our spring to-do list.
|The pond in August 2019 with fallen water level.|
Although there are no blooms now, there are some signs that spring will arrive eventually. Every January, I show similar pictures. Here's what I snapped today:
|Golden mop false cypress adds needed color in winter|
|Top: crocus shoots. Bottom right: daffodil shoots. Bottom left: rhododendron buds|
Last fall I planted a witch hazel with the hopes that it would bloom by now. There are some promising-looking buds but no blooms yet.
|Buds on Japanese andromeda Pieris japonica 'Mountain Fire.'|
|First buds on the hellebores|
We had several days of rain this month. As a result the paddock is a sea of mud. The animals are glad to be outside, however. We put their hay in haypillows to slow down their fast eating. Actually, the mini horse can eat so fast it makes him sick. He is prone to foundering. The haypillows work well.
|Top: Doodes the Nigerian dwarf goat. Bottom: Charm the mini horse and Billy Goat|
No blooms outside, but some beauties indoors.
|Colorful amaryllis on the dining-room table|
Finally, some Eastern bluebirds visited my garden today. I've seen very few this winter, so their appearance was most welcome. And another reminder to participate in the GBBC next month.
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