Seasonal Celebrations & Lessons Learned
The strawberries in the kitchen garden are looking seasonally festive! Today I am joining Gardens Eye View to look at this upcoming season.
One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season is to look at lights be it driving around at night or visiting one of the many gardens that decorate for the season. While we had family in town for the Thanksgiving holiday we visited The Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden going on now through January 5th. You can wander the garden's 30 acres filled with more than 1 million lights.
The orbs on the great lawn change color and are choreographed to holiday music.
|photo credit: my sister, Kirsten|
The edible garden has lots of whimsical lights celebrating the pollinators and blooms.
A walk through the woodland garden is a treat with many traditional lights combined with the fun.You may even find Lumina, a live fairy character, hiding behind a tree.
The Atlanta Botanical Gardens site says they have gone green using "more than 1 million energy-efficient LED lights, or light-emitting diodes, which are illuminated solely by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material rather than a traditional filament. They not only consume up to 80 percent less electricity than traditional incandescent lights but also have a life span of five years or more, more than doubling the traditional light lifespan."
Come January when the garden is quiet and the holiday festivities have past, it will be time to organize! I love organizing and am looking forward getting the garden plan down on paper. I will be ordering seeds and working on a planting schedule for the raised beds. I will be making a list of native plants to add to the garden. And, with my daughter (who is graduating from Clemson with a Horticulture degree in a few weeks) we will be growing seedlings from the seeds I gathered this autumn so we have plants for the pollinators come Spring. It will also be time to prune the roses and some trees. There is just no rest for the weary!
Keep your hummingbird feeder up! You never know if one of those hummers that winter in Georgia will find your garden. We have one in our garden that has been feeding on the black and blue salvia, pineapple sage and searching the roses that are still blooming. Thank goodness the frost we had two weeks ago didn't get all the blooms. But our feeders are staying up and being refreshed. We are so excited since this is our first winter hummingbird!
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources there are 11 hummingbird species that have been reported in Georgia during late fall and winter including Rufous, Allen’s, Anna’s, black-chinned, broad-billed, broad-tailed, buff-bellied, and calliope hummingbirds. Most of these hummingbirds are natives of Western states and probably migrating through Georgia. The most common wintertime hummingbird is the rufous. In fact according to the DNR website so many of them have shown up each winter in Georgia that ornithologists have considered including Georgia as part of their natural range. If you live in Georgia and host a hummingbird you are encouraged to report it at 478-994-1438.
I have also contacted the Georgia Hummer group who will be coming to our home to band and collect data on this hummingbird. You can report a sighting here. It is difficult to accurately identify which type of hummingbird this is until you get a good spread tail shot or band measurements but it looks like this one is a female Rufous.
I wonder how these tiny birds will survive our winter, especially if we get consecutive days of freezing temperatures. According to the Georgia DNR you can keep hummingbrid feeders from freezing by (1) taking the feeder inside at night when temperatures fall below 26 degrees (the 1 part sugar to 4 parts water mix won’t freeze until then); (2) focus a 150-watt outside flood lamp with an “alligator” clip on the feeder during sub-26-degree weather; or, (3) wrap the feeder with a 3-foot-long electric heat tape. These hummers will need our help to survive!
Autumn was a very busy time for me and I didn't get to spend as much time as I needed in the garden. Note that I only posted twice in November! The watermelon that we picked late in the season was left on the back deck since our refrigerator was full. Well, this didn't turn out to be such a good idea. I should know they don't last forever....eventually they will rot especially since we had a lot of warm days.
But look who found the decomposing watermelon...yes the bees. This is just a small sampling of the number that came. We removed the watermelon from the back deck to the compost where the insects could continue to enjoy them without the risk of them coming in the house.
We got two lemons this year. I am not an expert at citrus but, I learned from a fellow Master Gardener who lived in Florida for many years that they need to be fertilized heavily, especially when they are in pots. Maybe with a little more TLC we will have a more bountiful harvest next year.
Did your garden teach you some valuable lessons this Autumn? What are you looking forward to this Winter? Gardens Eye View "Seasonal Celebrations" and Plant Postings "Lessons Learned" will be posting a meme wrap-up after the solstice so join in the fun by linking up!