Sunday, June 6

FINCHLETS!!! (... and front yard snapshots)

To say the least, THIS has made watering a bit of a challenge:

I discovered the purple finches' nest in one of my two 'Bonfire' begonia hanging baskets a couple of weeks ago.  I was setting the basket out into the garden on a rainy day when the first (and only, at the time) egg rolled out of the nest.  OOPS!  I used a leaf from my oakleaf hydrangea to gently move it back to the nest without getting my scent all over it, then kept watch.  Five eggs were laid in total--including the one I might have inadvertently ruined--and it's amusing to see mama and daddy finch put on the brakes and turn around in midair when they are en route to the nest and see me on the porch.

Is anyone reading this skilled at baby bird counting?  Steve and I figure that there are probably four, based on the bird parts we can ese and the overall amount of fluff and finchlet piled up in the nest... but we're amateurs.  Click on the photo to look at the nest in super-large size... and PLEASE feel free to weigh in via comment if you have a better count!

Time to get back outside and resume planting, post-dinner.  But first, a few quick glimpses of the front yard, where the spires and sprays of flowers are stealing all of my attention:

A peach heuchera, 'Purple Dragon' lamium, 'Solar Flare' bergenia in its flat green summer color, 'Northern Halo' hosta, and golden oregano mingle beneath the Japanese maple

 Same combo as above... slightly different perspective

 Around the corner of the Japanese maple is a small ring of digitalis parviflora (aka Spanish foxglove)... the lamium spills over the side of the raised bed above them.

From further away, you can see (bottom to top): unnamed purple heuchera, 'Ivory Prince' hellebores, 'Beatlemania' carex, digitalis parviflora, 'Amber Waves' heuchera, all the plants you saw in the photo above, and then Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus' 

From even further away (I'm down by the sidewalk now) you can see all of the plants in the photo above plus: 'Diablo' purple ninebark, more golden oregano, the newly planted 'Sun Power' hosta, clover and other assorted weeds that grew up because I didn't mulch after planting the hosta, more digitalis and an unnamed bergenia.

Taking a good photo of the "fruits" of the purple ninebark always seems beyond me for some reason, but I prefer these to its too-pretty (for me) flowers.

Heading back up to the porch, you can see the other stand of digitalis parviflora that is beginning to bud up as well.  Its rusty orange colors pick up the shades of the bronze sedge that you can barely see in the lower right corner, and also work well with the golden oregano and peachy heucheras.  Steely, powdery blue ('Blue Ice' amsonia, and the leaves of sea kale) cools down the heat a little here.

More photos later--for now, it's time to get back outside and plant!  ('Tis the season... :)


Christine said...

Your garden plantings are just beautiful, Kim. And I think you may be right about 4 Finchlets. I looked and looked and couldn't see a fifth. They could surprise you, though. Have a great week!

Pam/Digging said...

Gad, Kim! Your foliage combos are to-die-for! I love that purple red of the Japanese maple paired with the peach heuchera, especially. The finch babies are adorable also. Our owlets have flown the coop, and I missed it!

Gail said...

Kim, You know how to do purple! Fantastic combos and great ideas for me! gail the little 'uns are so cute

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Fincheletts, hmmmm sounds like a french dish to me. tee hee.... Love all the color you have in your garden at any given moment.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

As much as I thrill to seeing baby birds, I also dread it because they're so fragile & there are so many perils for them. I hope your finch family all survive & fly away.
I agree with you about preferring the ninebark fruits to the flowers. Your fruit clusters seem more open than mine, which have been a joy to photograph this year. I'll post a shot of it, hopefully tomorrow for you.

Unknown said...

Christine, thanks for looking! I was hoping to see a 5th, too, but couldn't make out another baby bird... ah well. I found out that the finches had been inadvertently evicted from their last home on my neighbor's porch, so at least they got to have a few babies at my place...

Pam/Digging, thank you! You're a master of foliage combos, so that compliment means a lot to me. :)

Gail, wasn't it nice of the finches to complete my purple scheme?!?! ;)

Greenbow Lisa, you sound like one of my Facebook friends who commented, "Yummm..." when I posted this photo! lol.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter, I know... there are possums, and the neighbor's cat, and... and... well, I just try not to think about that part.

My fruit/flower clusters WERE more open this year, and the leaves are far smaller, too. I just moved the ninebark to this new location early last fall, and I admit that I sometimes forgot to keep watering it regularly until it started to droop. I wonder if these two oddities are signs of transplant stress, still? I'm being nicer to it this year so far, but that wouldn't surprise me...

SMC said...

All those purples are so lovely!

When I worked at a garden center many years back I remember finding multiple nests in the hanging baskets. I would dissuade people from buying them and continue to water them to provide coverage...but not water so heavily as to cause issues!

kris at Blithewold said...

I am intensely jealous. My own garden is awash in passalong pale colors. At least at Bwold we've got some combos almost as dramatic and sublime as yours... Love the ninebark fruit (I don't think I've ever seen ours in fruit -why??)

Diana said...

What a nice surprise - a nest of finchletts in your hanging baskets! The way to do a head count is to peak in, tap the side of the pot gently and all their little heads will pop up. Just don't do it too often.

As far as your scent. You don't need to worry about that! Most birds have a poor sense of smell (except some vultures). They identify their babies by location and later by sound. If you need proof of this you can find lots of videos on the web of scientists banding baby birds in the nest - if the parent rejected them after this you can be sure this wouldn't be a successful research strategy.

Oh, and you might want to look up information about fledglings before they leave the nest. When baby birds first leave the nest they can't fly very well - THIS IS NORMAL! Please either leave them alone or move them into some bushes (of which you seem to have some nice specimens).

Sorry for the long post. I'm a college biology professor and I have honed my lecturing skills so that I can talk for an hour on almost any biology topic ;).

Benjamin Vogt said...

Finchlets! I want some! And I agree 150%--ninebark blooms are gaudy icky sweet, but the fruit is awesome. Those blooms do smell nice though--like queen of the prairie, but it has those huge clouds of cotton candy pink flowers that look like something i puked up. Like you new blog design! Wish I had days to pick one I liked for TDM.

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