Mother’s Day, Bluebirds And A Little Bit Of Home

Bluebird chicks

Since my last blog post we have made it through Mother’s Day weekend, it was spectacular. We shipped 8 trucks to the 2nd St. store as well as a boatload of plants to the 18th Ave. store from the greenhouses. Our baskets were flying out of the greenhouses!

Carts of annual hanging baskets Impatiens baskets assorted annual hanging baskets

This is the second time in seventeen years that I can remember having great weather all 3 days of the weekend. Of course, great weather can only last so long in Minnesota, (I feel like I’m always talking about the weather) and here we are in another cold spell. Like many people, I just bought my herbs this week, and there they sit in the garage waiting to be planted. But, even though this weather can put a damper on planting your annuals in the ground, getting your vegetable garden planted, and installing a new perennial bed (don’t worry, I’m going somewhere nice with this), you can still plant your containers. We will be here for you. In fact, we have ideas displayed all around the stores.

Shade annual display

Right before the weather changed, I got a chance to tag along with Alan while he checked the bluebird trail. Out of 6 sets of nesting boxes, we found 3 active nests.

Chickadee eggs Bluebird chicks Tree Swallow nest

A chickadee nest with eight eggs, a bluebird nest with four hatchlings and a tree swallow nest with one egg.

When chickadees nest in the bluebird boxes, John and Alan put a reducer on the hole to help protect the nest from other birds such as house sparrows. Because the wrens can fit into the smaller hole, they also put a board in front of the hole to help hide it from the wrens.

Chickadee house

They do that because wrens will throw out any eggs that are in a nesting site that they want to nest in.

In case you are wondering why we are letting birds other than bluebirds nest on a bluebird trail, Alan says that he loves all native birds. Plus, once they lay eggs in the nest, they are protected by the Migratory Bird Act. Did you know that the Migratory Bird Act was established in 1918 and it protects native birds but not non-native birds? I’m always surprised that they were thinking about conservation so long ago.

Speaking of birds, I saw the first hummingbird of the season at my feeder yesterday. Hummingbird’s remind me of my grandmother. She always had feeders out and they were always ‘humming’ with activity. Hummingbird-friendly plants are on my to plant list this year! Hummingbirds love tubular flowers and bright colors.

Salvia hot lips orange lantana cuphea vermilloinaire

Annual salvia, lantana, and cuphea are great hummingbird attractants. Don’t forget that not all of your flowers have to be red to bring the hummingbirds in. The Black and Bloom salvia is very popular with our customers, not just because they are pretty with great flower power, but because they are a hit with the hummingbirds. One of many perennial plants that are popular with the hummingbirds is hosta. Almost everyone I know has a hosta in their yard. When they are blooming in the greenhouses, I see hummingbirds visit them over and over again.

By the way, how are your perennials doing? I have been quite happy with mine. My shade garden looks so nice right now.

Shade garden  shade garden

I love how pretty the Japanese painted fern looks among the hostas. My bleeding hearts have been blooming for 2 weeks now, and the little bit of Lamiastrum I planted last year has really taken off.

My sunny garden still needs to have the debris from last year cut back. I leave it over the winter for pollinator habitat. One caveat, if you have any disease problems in your flower beds, you should do a thorough cleanup in the fall.

peony early scout

My Early Scout peony has already been blooming and my other peonies have nice big buds on them. After this weather clears up and the soil isn’t so wet, I am going to get those herbs planted!

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Written by

Cathy Maxson is Sargent's Gardens Annual and Perennial Growing manager. In addition to making sure Sargent's grown plants thrive, she enjoys growing in her own garden, canning fruits and vegetables, traveling and staying fit with Taekwondo.