Watching birds

After yet another mountain of deadlines completed, I realize I?m a serial worker. I can?t blog and do all this other stuff at the same time. But now it?s getting back into the garden to be more than just an observer. The other day I was musing about this at the dining room table and watching a couple of teenage robins having a merry old time sunbathing, showering and fooling around on the sculpture fountain.I don?t think Reinhard Rietzenstein who created this marvelous work of art had any idea of what a multipurpose piece it is: The sounds masks much of the noise of the city; it?s a magnet for insects; and the bird population has been enormous.Earlier this year I saw a Scarlet tanager. At least that?s what it looks like in my bird book (I know nothing about birds). And the usual suspects who live here all the time (cardinals, robins, blue jays) zoom in and out. But it?s the robins that seem to enjoy it most of all.They sit on top of the bubbler and go crazy. Are they having some sort of sublime sensual experience? These two guys the other days were facing off each other, beak to beak, looking like they were taunting each other and having fun doing it.I?m not sure if you?re supposed to be anthropomorphic with birds or not. But there is something gangly and very male about the two birds who make this their spa/playground.Jostling for position, flapping back and forth, making a lot of wonderful racket.I have new and even greater respect for wild life photographers. I?ve worked with some of the best including Tony Beck (look at his web site you?ll see what I mean). The patience, the endurance waiting for that defining moment. I spent a good many hours and got a couple of rather crummy shots.Majorie?s Robin I?ve always been afraid of birds (sea gull attack as a child) but I?m getting more and more fascinated as I spend time sitting very still in the dining room with the huge screen down and windows wide open. Being still has never been easy for me, but I can do it when I?m watching plants and birds do what they are supposed to be doing. Getting this close to nature makes everything else worthwhile.I was on Fresh Air this a.m. with the wonderful Karen Gordon who managed to smoosh dozens of questions sent in by listeners into really good questions. The two annuals I mentioned are: Plectranthus ?Mona Lavender? and Euphorbia ?White Diamonds?. Both are superb if you can find them this time of the year. If not put them on your list for next year.

  • laurie

    August 9, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Hi Marjorie
    Will you give us your blue and white list please??

    It will be on the next e-letter which is available now just let me know and I’ll pass it along.

  • Sheila Burvill

    August 10, 2008 at 11:40 am

    It’s nice to have your blog entries resume; I’ve certainly missed them. Do you have any prediction when the summer tour of your garden will be posted? I’m looking forward to that too.

    The visual tour is now up: go to My Garden and click the flower in the middle of the shots. The look all around
    That Tom Vogel is amazing.

  • Lois Sampson

    August 13, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Hello Marjorie. I think we are gardening soul mates. I devoured the book you wrote about creating your garden over the years, the seasons and it’s transformation to its current form. I literally read every word as carefully as the next, it was that rich and compelling a book.

    While it was jam-packed with very useful advice, I especially recall your pure, innate joy at the marvels of nature and the garden, starting from your roots in Newfoundland in which you took pleasure in what many people cannot even see.

    This column on watching birds frolic in your fountain expresses the joy I feel whenever I’m blessed with birds enjoying our bird baths. I just use simple ceramic pot saucers as bird baths, but the birds don’t seem to discriminate.

    One particular delight for me was noticing a hummingbird taking a shower in the water burbling up from the end of my watering wand that I had left on, upturned on the ground. Literally taking a shower, for several long minutes. I was transfixed. Recently I have read that hummingbirds prefer moving water to still water. Now I’m going to have to devise something which will provide that for these little beauties who grace my garden.

    Thanks so much for expressing the soul of gardening so beautifully,


  • Tony Beck

    August 22, 2008 at 7:59 am

    Hey Marjorie

    Gardens have great potential to attract many birds.
    The way I look at it, they are blooms with wings. Many are amazingly colourful, intricately patterned and beautifully shaped.

    Let’s make a date to explore some local wilderness in search of some avian diversity.
    Bring your camera.

    And, thanks for the plug.
    But, my website is (not .com)

    See you soon.