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March 2015 Newsletter & Community Update

Posted by Linda Karr on 3/5/2015 to Newsletter


Table of Contents 
Intro 
Sales 
  Updates 
Children’s Garden 
From Our Customers 
What's New in the Store? 
Classes & Events 
  Second Annual Silent Auction Results 
  Come in to Win a Feeder Contest 
  New classes (Register Now) 
  Sidewalk Sale (Save the Date) 
Happenings 
  Old Town Tucker Update/Happenings 
  Community Events and Spirit 
  Other Backyard Nature Events 
Gardening 
  Opportunities in the Garden for March 
  Micro greens vs. Sprouts 
For the kids
Birding 
  Featured Bird Feeder of the Month: Mealworm Feeders 
  Bird of the Month: Eastern Bluebird 
  Audubon Field Trips 

Fellow Backyard Nature Lovers, 

Spring is just around the corner with Daylight Savings Time starting this Sunday, March 8th. Move your clocks ahead one hour.  

Feeling the luck of the Irish? Like us on Face book (direct link) from now until March 17th and your name will be entered in our pot of gold for a $50 gift certificate from The Garden Enthusiast – Backyard Nature Station. 

WE know it would be easy for you to shop at chain stores, so we appreciate you taking the time to shop with us. As a token of our appreciation for National Mom & Pop Business Owner’s Day (March 29th), we’ll be sending you a special coupon. Keep an eye out for an email with the coupon attached. 

We’ll be celebrating our fourth anniversary next month. We’re planning on a BIG sidewalk sale to be part of the celebration – more on that in the April newsletter but save the date (April 25th). 

Children’s Garden 

Some things have been happening in the Children’s Garden. Mike Fillon donated three blueberry bushes. We got a large rain barrel. We planted some seeds that are growing well in the back of the store under grow lights. These plants will be heading out to the garden when it’s a little warmer. One of our vendors donated a box of feeders. More next month – particularly if we have some decent (no rain) weather! 

From Our Customers 

Enjoyed your report. Doug D  

I get a lot of compliments when I wear the squirrel t-shirt I won in one of your contests. We enjoy your newsletter so much. Carol W. 


What’s New in the Store? 

Birding: Ground screw for 4x4 post, bulk mealworms, nesting material, hummingbird feeders, finch feeders, mealworm feeders, decorative birdhouses, solar bird feeders, glass birdbaths, bamboo view thru bluebird house, Georgia State University birdhouse by Jim Jackson 

Garden Art:
 New giant staked flowers, flags, matmates, twirlys 

Gardening: seed starting trays, grow lights 

Children:
 books and puzzles 

Books:
 Beginners Guides on hummingbirds, butterflies and Eastern Birds, field guides on Birds of North America and Trees of the Southeast 

Miscellaneous:
 new tabletop fountains, oil paintings by local artist Herb Krutoy 

Classes & Events 

 Dawn Hines of the Tucker Butterfly Garden mans the table on February 14th

The silent auction to benefit the Tucker Butterfly Garden’s native plant expansion was a huge success. Most of the 47 items had multiple bids. Some were obviously ‘hot’ items that quite a few people wanted. The sealed bid was an addition this year (thanks to a suggestion from Carlin L). Volunteers from the garden made calls on the final day to keep bidders aware that they had been outbid. Several people were in the store as we closed at 6PM to make sure they had the last bid! It was an exciting day! Their $2000 goal was reached and exceeded with $2344 being raised which included a few cash donations. 

Volunteers from the garden were there each Saturday to share information about the garden and butterflies. They brought wonderful treats each Saturday for everyone to enjoy. We want to particularly thank those who donated items for the auction: Dave Decker, Growler Time (for growler gift bag and donating wine for the 3 Saturdays), Jill Jane Clements, Lee Leach, Dan Niccum, Woodlands Garden, Chris Taras, Debra Adams, Ann O’Rourke, Sharon Samford, a friend of the garden, Tom & Janet Jenkins, Custom Frame Shop, and Cynthia Perryman for not only donating her art but also for painting in the store on the first day of the auction. Thank you also to Up Close and Personal, the Smoke Signal, and Tucker Times for their generosity in providing space for our articles about the auction which helped to reach out to more people. And, a special thank you to each of you who came in and bid on the items and helped to raise the funds for this community project! Take time in the next few months to visit the garden. 



The Wrights were bidding up until the very end to make sure they got the Three Tube Copper Finch Feeder.

     
It took a few days, but now it seems to be very popular! Carol W  

Come in to Win a Free Feeder Contest continues until April 5th. Again this year Brome is giving away 150 Squirrel Buster Standards, 18 Squirrel Buster Finch and 12 Squirrel Buster Plus. Customers who visit The Garden Enthusiast - Backyard Nature Station will receive our unique store code. Once you have received our store code, enter the code via Brome's Facebook, Web page or by simply calling Brome Bird Care's toll free number. By entering one time, you qualify for all the draws. Brome will contact us with the customer's contact information and then we get in touch with the winners. Brome Bird Care will follow up with the winner to make sure everything went well. The feeder is shipped to our store for you and we arrange with you to pick it up. Brome will not share your information nor solicit you. 

Saturday March 28th Seed Starting Children’s Workshop 10:30am-11:30am
 
Children 5 and up are invited to join Brittany Scheivelhud in this fun and interactive seed starting extravaganza! Our up and coming garden enthusiasts will discover the magic behind seed starting, from seed to sprout! Each participant will plant their very own seeds that they will be able to take home and share! Pre-registration is required. Register by calling 404-474-7072 or email at support@thegardenthusiast.com Cost: $ 10, space limited 

Saturday March 28th Vegetable Gardening 101 1:30-2:30 
Feeling hesitant about starting your vegetable garden? Never fear! Brittany Scheivelhud is here to share her knowledge in the basics of creating a successful vegetable garden. Learning how to grow and maintain a vegetable garden is something that the entire family can enjoy. From big yards to small yards, and even patios, many options exist to create vegetable gardens. Join us for this program. Topics will include site selection, soil sampling and fertility, irrigation techniques and pest management practices. Pre-registration is required. Register by calling 404-474-7072 or email at support@thegardenthusiast.com Cost: free, space limited 

Saturday April 25th The Garden Enthusiast Sidewalk Sale 10AM – 4PM 
If you shopped at our sidewalk sale in October you found some great buys. Look for more bargains at our April sale. We’re partnering with some of our vendors to bring in more products. There will be a lot of pond products including pumps and filters. So if you have – or want to have a water feature – this will be a great opportunity for you. Also, women's Sloggy's (sizes 6-10) in four colors among many other things. 

Old Town Tucker Update/Happenings 
 Saturday March 14th Chili Cook-off on Main Street 1- 6PM 
 
Yes, it’s time for the 4th Annual Tucker Chili Cook-off sponsored by the Old Town Tucker Merchant’s Association. This event will benefit the Day League (formerly the Dekalb Rape Crisis Center). Your $5 entry fee gets you access to taste all the chili prepared by event contestants and gives you one vote to help award the coveted People’s Choice prize. For more information on becoming a chili cook-off contestant visit www.tuckerchilicookoff.com

Main Street School of Art’s Creative Summer Camp Extravaganza 
Creativity gives the brain a terrific workout! Art, Ukulele, Puppetry, Magic tricks, Sewing/Knitting, Photography, Acting and Drama, Bookmaking, Musical Theater, Creative Writing, Jewelry Making, Incredible Improv, Cinema Camp and more! 
Full day (9 AM-3:30 PM) - $250/week 
Half day (9 AM-12 PM or 12:30-3:30 PM) - $125/week 
May 26 through August 7, 2015 
Mix-and-match half-day options and get different full day combinations to last all Summer long! Please view the schedule at: 
www.MainStreetSchoolOfArt.com/camps.html or call 770-938-7880 or e-mail mainstreetartschool@gmail.com for more information. 

Thursday, April 9th Tucker Farmer’s Market 2015 Opening 4-8PM 

M 572 hopes to open by late summer in the former Sweet Dee's location.
 This new restaurant will feature fine southern food. More info later.

Yellow Llama is closing their doors and moving to the ‘web’. 


Community Events and Spirit 

Monday March 9th Mountain Shadow Garden Club presents “Ponds – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” 7:30PM 

 Water features in the home landscape add a greater dimension of interest and enjoyment for most of us. Proper planning and maintenance are key steps to success. Bill Dowden, Co-Owner/Vice-President of Coastal Pond Supply, will provide this program which will include information useful to beginning or entry level garden pond owners as well as the more advanced and experienced. He will also include tips and guidelines for managing ponds containing Goldfish or Koi. MSGC meets in Founders Hall at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 5801 Hugh Howell Road. MSGC is open to men and women of all ages who enjoy learning more about a range of garden topics. Refreshments and socializing follow. Free. For more information, call club president Jeff Raines at 404-641-8633. 

Tuesday March 10th Friends of Tucker Parks 7-8PM
 
The meeting will be held at the Tucker Recreation Center. 

Saturday March 14th Tucker Rummage Sale 
This rummage sale will raise funds for the new Main Street Theater Group. Email tuckerrummagesale@gmail.com for more info or if you have something you’d like to donate. All donations are tax-deductible. 

Saturday April 11th The Georgia Iris Society Meeting 2PM 
Ken Duke, GIS member, Master Judge and Landscape Designer will present "How to Prepare Irises for the Spring Show". Our meetings are free to the public and all are welcome. Join us for beautification, education and recreation. Northlake Library, 3772 Lavista Road, Tucker For more information contact Kathy Blackwell 678 583 8603. 

Saturday April 18th Tucker High School Centennial (THS) Celebration 

There will be many activities in conjunction with Tucker High School’s hundredth anniversary celebration including 
- 8AM 5K road race 
-10:30AM Parade down Main Street with a theme of Past, Present, and Future 
-11AM – 3PM Tucker Optimist BBQ in the THS cafeteria 
-5-7PM Reunion rooms in the school 
 -7PM Ceremony 
-7:30-11:30PM Centennial Dance featuring Airtight Band – music for all decades 
Golf Tournament on March 23rd 
For more information and updates go to tuckerhighschoolfoundation.org 

Saturday April 25th Mountain Shadow Garden Club Annual Plant Sale 8AM – 2PM
 
The annual plant sale will be in the parking lot of Eastminister Presbyterian Church at 5801 Hugh Howell Road. The sale offers a wide range of perennials, annuals, shrubs, and other plants and garden materials that are well adapted to the local area. Club members with many years of gardening experience will be on hand to help customers make selections and learn about caring for new purchases. For further information contact Scott Uthlaut at 770-923-9762. 

Saturday April 25th The Tucker Plant Swap 8AM – 1PM 

Come to the Tucker Historical Society’s annual plant swap in the First Baptist Church of Tucker parking lot. Bring a plant – take a plant! If you’d like to help, contact Kathy Powell at kathy@kathypowellinteriors.com. 

Saturday, May 9th Tucker Day 8AM – 4PM 

Saturday, May 16th Tucker Historical Society Garden Tour 9AM – 5PM 

Five unique local gardens from all over Tucker and the Tucker Butterfly Garden will be on the tour this year. 

Tucker Nature Preserve 
4408 Lawrenceville Hwy Tucker There is now a geo-caching location at this park. They have a new parking lot and picnic tables, so grab your gear and head out to this Preserve. 

Kelley Cofer Park 
New pollinator garden and a mini orchard project have begun. Flower beds are being prepped and 10 fruit trees will be planted. 

Henderson Park
 
They received a $2500 Small Change Grant from Park Pride to continue working on the walking trail. Work days are the second Saturday of every month from 9am – 12Noon. You’re welcome to join in the efforts! 

Tucker Recreation Center
 
Coming soon – an herb and other edibles garden and an outdoor classroom. 

There’s been talk of new developments coming into the Tucker area and other changes that are on the horizon. A few of these include: 
- Demolishing the office park behind the Waffle House at Northlake Parkway and Lavista. In its place will be 200,000sf of retail and restaurants. 
- A new 7000sf retail space with at least two nationally known restaurants across from Chic-Fil-A at Hugh Howell and Lawrenceville Hwy (currently United Cars Sales facility) 
- McDonalds at the site of the former Willie B’s restaurant on Mountain Industrial 
- CocoCakes by Coco in the former Mighty Joe’s Espresso location in the Ingle’s Shopping Center 

Other Backyard Nature Events 

Saturday March 7th 20th Native Plant Symposium 8AM – 4PM
 
The 20th Annual Georgia Native Plant Society Symposium will be held at Georgia Perimeter College, Clarkston Campus. This day-long symposium is for plant enthusiasts, landscapers, and scholars. There will be four speakers including keynote speaker Alan Weakley, author, ecologist and director of the UNC Herbarium. Visit with the artists and vendors. Continental breakfast, lunch and parking are included. The symposium will also include an optional tour of the Georgia Perimeter Native Plant Botanical Garden. For more information and registration please visit www.gnps.org 

Saturday March 14th Georgia Iris Society Meeting 2PM 

Do you love irises? Would you like to know how to grow them? Come bring your spouse, neighbor or coworker and meet members of the Georgia Iris Society at St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church, 1790 Lavista Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30309. We would like to get acquainted and teach you how to grow this lovely “Queen of the Garden.” Join us for education, beautification and recreation and enjoy fellowship and food. Meetings are free to the public and all are welcome. For more information contact Kathy Blackwell, 678 583 8603. 

Monday March 23rd Dekalb Master Gardener (DMGA) Monthly Meeting: “Square Foot Gardening” 6PM 
Tony Gobert is the lead instructor in the Sustainable Urban Agricultural program at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville. Born on a farm in South Louisiana, Tony was the first in his family to attend college. As a student at Southern University and A&M College, Tony began his lifelong education in agricultural. He is currently owner-operator of a landscape company. Tony is also a Certified Permaculture Instructor, Georgia Certified Landscape Professional; PLANET landscape industry certified Professional, Georgia Master Gardener and a Square Foot Garden Instructor. Tony believes that education is the future of small farmers. Knowledge of crop production and less dependency on inputs and petroleum products is the key to profitability. Free. Northlake Barbara Loar Branch - DeKalb Public Library 

Friday March 27th Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College 

A Walk in the Garden with Ernest Koone looking for native azaleas at 10:30AM followed by presentation at 12N by Ernest on “Native Azaleas". Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. If desired, bring a lunch. 

Saturday March 28th Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College 10AM – 2PM 
Spring plant sale. Cash or check only. 3251 Panthersville Rd Decatur 

Saturday & Sunday March 28th – 29th Atlanta Urban Coop Tour 2015 Noon – 5PM 
Join the 8th annual Urban Coop Tour to find out why people are getting so excited about backyard chickens. Urban coops are a fast growing trend in metro Atlanta neighborhoods, with families, community gardens and neighborhood co-ops all getting in on the action. Benefits include farm fresh eggs, kitchen waste disposal, bug patrol and just plain fun! The Tour features 14 coops across Decatur, East Atlanta, Edgewood, Grant Park and the Old Fourth Ward. Coop owners will be available to introduce their ladies, answer questions and discuss coop design. Many coops feature artwork, edible landscaping, or other livestock (including rabbits, goats and a pot-bellied pig!). Tickets: $20 early bird, $25 on Tour weekend. Free for children age 12 and under (Good for both days of the Tour, plus the Friday night launch party/silent auction fundraiser) Rain or shine! For more information email urbancooptour@wyldecenter.org 

Friday April 3rd Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College
 
A Walk in the Garden with Eddi Minche looking at “Native Plants to Attract Pollinators” at10:30AM followed by presentation at 12N by Eddi on “ALTER-Natives". Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. If desired, bring a lunch. 

Saturday April 11th Azalea Chapter Annual Plant Sale and Flower Display 8AM 
This is the annual plant sale of the Azalea Chapter. An outstanding collection of over 1,200 native azaleas, evergreen azaleas, other rhododendrons, mountain laurel, camellias, and other hard to find varieties of plants will be offered. Joining the Azalea Chapter will give you a significant discount on already great prices. Open rain or shine until plants are gone. We always sell out. Come early. Oak Grove United Methodist Church, 1722 Oak Grove Rd, Decatur, GA 30033. Contact Terry Robinson at plantsales@azaleachapter.com for more information. 

Saturday, April 18th DMGA Plant Sale 10AM – 1PM
 
The Dekalb Master Gardener’s Association annual plant sale will again be held at the Oak Grove UMC parking lot: Corner of Oak Grove & Fairoaks (1722 Oak Grove Rd., Decatur) 

Saturday April 18th Georgia Native Plant Society Annual Spring Plant Sale 10AM – 2PM 
McFarlane Nature Park in Marietta 

 Georgia Perimeter College (GPC) Native Plant Botanical Garden celebrates its 25th Anniversary 
 This Native Plant Garden is the outcome of the vision, dedication and devotion of George Sanko, professor of Botany and Biology at GPC for 25 years. In 1990, after retiring as full-time professor, George Sanko committed to repurposing an overgrown waste land adjacent to the southern edge of DeKalb College (now a part of the Georgia Perimeter College system) into a Native Plant Garden. This Garden presently occupies 4 acres and contains 900 taxa of native plants and ferns, including 390 fern taxa. At any time, there are between 9,500 and 12,000 plant specimens growing in the Garden. 
On May 28, 2010, Professor Sanko was recognized for his creation of one of the top gardens in the nation when the National Garden Club bestowed on him its "Award of Excellence" during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The "Award of Excellence" is offered annually to individuals, organizations and institutions that have made contributions of national or worldwide significance. 
There are actually two Gardens co-located on this site: (1) the Native Plant Garden and (2) the Ferns of the World Garden. The mission of both gardens is to educate the public about US native plants and temperate ferns by providing a teaching environment. The Native Plant Garden consists of several unique areas to visit, e.g. Bog Garden; Shrub Garden; Shade Garden; Meadow; Granite Outcrop Garden; Sandhill Bed; and Xeric Perennials Bed. The Ferns of the World Garden contains more species of ferns than any other garden in the U.S. The fern collection includes not only ferns common to the U.S, but also ferns from temperate areas around the world. 
The Ferns of the World Garden was designated an affiliate garden of the Hardy Fern Foundation in 2011. 
Additionally, there are two greenhouses; a nursery and propagation area; an outdoor plant growing area and a plant sale area. There will be a weeklong celebration from April 19 – 25. A number of activities are being planned including at least a walk each day. A special day of celebration will be on Wednesday, April 22nd which is Earth Day. Walks and a lunch/cookout are being planned. The Lunch and Wildflower program will be held on Friday, April 24th and plant sales on Friday and Saturday, April 24 and 25. 

This exceptional garden is adjacent to the GPC Decatur campus at 3251 Panthersville Road in SW Dekalb County. The garden is free and always open. www.gpcnativegarden.org 

Wednesday April 22nd 1st Annual Spring Homeschool Festival at Callanwolde 10AM – 2PM 
Think Green – Open Air at Callanwolde Activities and Programs about: 
- Meet a Tree – Take our Tree tour, learn about our Champion Tree
- Bees in 3D - Create a bee-attracting sculpture for your own garden 
 - Recycled Paper Art – Hands-On Fun 
- What is Your Carbon Footprint? Let’s calculate! 
- Plein Air Painting – Visit with professional painters who are set up on our grounds, and try it yourself! 
Free! Registration is Not Required but Helpful! 

Saturday May 9th Behind the Garden Gate 9am-3pm
GFWC Lilburn Woman's Club presents a tour of Lilburn area gardens. There will be eight very different gardens on this tour. Tickets are $20 per person. Rain or Shine! 
For more information go to www.lilburnwomansclub.org

Saturday May 9th Georgia Hosta Society Leaf Show & Plant Sale 
Tucker United Methodist Church, Wesley Center Gardening, etc. 

Gardening, etc.

For our star gazers, the sun’s corona will be visible around the moon as the total solar eclipse peaks on March 20th. 

March 21st is Master Gardener Day in Georgia. Thank you to all the Master Gardeners who volunteer their time and expertise! 

As our gardens start to come to life this month, be prepared to spend more time out in the garden. Hopefully, you’ve been doing some of the chores over the last few months so it won’t be overwhelming! 

Opportunities in the garden for March: 
• Fertilize pansies. 
• Cut back your liriope. 
• Plant your tomato seeds indoor now if you haven’t done so yet. 
• Spread lime across your lawn at a rate of 40#/1000sf. 
 Plant your bare root roses. 
• Plant beets, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, lettuce, snap peas, mustard, spring onions, broccoli, kale, leeks, radish, peppers, and turnips in your garden. Direct sow leaf lettuce and spinach weekly this month to assure a continual harvest. Use mulch between the rows or around the plants to keep the weeds under control. 
• Clean up all the spent blooms from your camellias to prevent disease. 
• Divide crowded Hosta as they start to emerge. 
• Clean up your rose beds and refresh the mulch. Make sure you get up all the leaves that fell from last year to help prevent disease. 
• Use some Water Gloves (cause that water is still cold!) to clean the debris from your water gardens. Add the debris to your compost bin. Fertilize your water plants. 
• March is a great time to plant berries such as blueberries and strawberries. 
• Apply a pre-emergent to your lawn if you didn’t do it in February but don’t do it if you’re planting fescue. You’ll need to wait 6 weeks. 

Selecting Tomato Varieties 
We offer a several varieties of tomato seed varieties from Botanical Interests. How do you know which variety is right for you? Start with the tomato type. Tomatoes are categorized into two main types according to growth habit and production. 

Determinate types grow in a compact bush form requiring little or no staking. Fruit is produced on the ends of the branches and most of the crop ripens at the same time. One or more successive plantings will ensure an extended harvest period. If you’re looking for a hefty supply of ripe tomatoes all at once, say for canning, determinate types are your choice. Italian Roma, Glacier, and Ace are quintessential determinate varieties. 

 Indeterminate varieties continue to grow and produce fruit all season until first frost. Tomatoes in all stages of development may be on the plants at one time. The plants set fruit clusters along a vining stem that grows vigorously and long – typically about 6’ in most home gardens. Some indeterminates have a bush form with stockier vines that set fruit clusters closer together. BeefsteakBlack Krim, and Brandywine are productive indeterminate varieties. If you’re starting these from seeds, light is one of the most important factors in creating a strong, healthy seedling. Sufficiently intense light of the right duration (about 16 hours/d) will make a shorter, stronger seedling than weaker light sources. 

Moneymaker Pole Tomato – this organic and heirloom variety earned its name because of its uniformity and reliable heavy yields. The medium sized 4-6oz fruits have sweet flavor and meaty texture, making them versatile for use in fresh or cooked dishes. A favorite for hot humid climates – sounds like a great one for Atlanta! 

We may see some damage to our plants again like we did last winter due to the cold temperatures we’ve had. I know we had a lot of damage to some of our azaleas last year. The good news is that most of our plants are resilient and will bounce back. Some of the foliage has been damaged and looks rather unsightly. It’s best to leave it alone until the risk of frost is over. The damaged foliage helps protect the crown underneath. Once the danger of frost is over, trim back the damaged foliage but be careful not to cut into the crown where the new growth will occur. Be patient for the new growth to appear. According to the plant, it can take 2 or more weeks. If you’re not sure about its viability, dig around the crown to see it its mushy and soft. If it is, it’s time to get replace the plant! 

Micro greens vs. Sprouts – what’s the difference? 

Micro greens and sprouts are trending everywhere from cooking shows and magazines to fancy restaurants and food trucks. But here’s a secret – you can grow micro greens and sprouts in your kitchen for pennies!Micro greens are young, leafy vegetables or herbs that are harvested just above the soil line when the plant is 1-2” tall. They include the first pair of leaves, called cotyledons, and one set of just developed “true” leaves. They are grown in flat trays using soil or soil-less media and are ready to harvest in about 7-14 days. Recent evidence has shown that the nutritional value of micro greens can be higher than mature plants, adding to their popularity with chefs and home gardeners. Red Winter Kale and Peas for Shoots are just a couple of varieties that we carry. Sprouts are young shoots from seeds, beans, legumes, and grasses that are not grown in media. The whole sprout can be eaten – seed, root, and stem – and are ready to eat in about 3-5 days. Some of the most common sprouts are alfalfa, mung bean, radish, fenugreek, garbanzo, and buckwheat. They are nutritional powerhouses that contain a high concentrate of antioxidant nutrients. You can use the Botanical Interest Seed Sprouter for convenient growing. 

For the Kids 

Easter is surely a sign of spring. If you’re planning an Easter Egg hunt this year why not get the kids involved in dyeing the eggs – and let them learn a little about nature and natural dyes in the process. There are many websites that you can go to find out how to use fruits and veggies as natural dyes to color everything from fabric to cosmetics to Easter eggs! But here’s a little help. 

First step - m
ake up the color dye baths which you want to use (see below); cool them in the refrigerator
Second - have boiled eggs ready to go 
Third – soak the eggs in the chosen ‘bath’ for up to 30 minutes; stir the baths a few times to make sure the whole egg is getting dyed 
Fourth – using a slotted spoon remove the eggs and let them dry on a wire rack (place the rack on a cookie sheet) 

How do you get the different colors? 
For blue, shred some purple cabbage in 4 cups of water. Stir in 1 TBSP of white vinegar and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove cabbage. 
How about yellow? Add 6TBSP of turmeric and 1 TBSP of white vinegar to 4 cups boiling water. Remove the pan from the heat and stir until the turmeric is dissolved. 
Orange? Boil 3 cups of water and add the skins of 6 yellow onions. Stir in 1 TBSP of white vinegar and simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain the liquid to remove the onion skins. 
A nice shade of pink? Add 3 beets cut into chucks in to 3 cups of boiling water. Stir in 1TBSP white vinegar and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove beets. 
Grass green? Put the eggs you dyed yellow into the blue dye. 
Also try walnut hulls for deep brown/black, raspberries for red, red onion skins for medium green, peaches for a yellow-green, tea bags for tan-ecru color - and so much more!
Gloves recommended 


Take a nature outing with your family. Plan a treasure hunt. Can you find an acorn that the squirrels haven’t gotten? What’s under that rock? Do you see a special leaf? What flowers are popping up right now? What bird is common at your feeder? Don’t have a bird house? Buy a kit and put one together and see what birds make a nest. Get the whole family involved! 

Birding 

It’s spring and the housing market is heating up. Do you have your houses ready for selection – old ones cleaned out and new ones put up? Our feathered friends certainly know love is in the air and they each have been doing their part to attract their mate and find their nesting spot. Nesting material is a great way to help the birds get a start on their nest building. Refillable Birdie Bells are handy to hang around nesting season and then fill with fruit after the nesting season is over. 

Providing nesting boxes can help support our year round residents like chickadees, bluebirds and owls, but it also can attract and keep around our spring and summer visitors. No matter if you live in a wooded area or in an open area, there are housing options available to help a variety of birds. First, let’s talk about nesting boxes for birds who like to nest in wooded areas or at the edge of forests. One of my favorite birds and a common visitor to most backyards is the Chickadee. You can provide them a place to nest by putting up a house 5-10 feet above the ground on a tree in a wooded area or along the woods. Wrens are another bird that prefers their house to be in areas with lots of shade and cover. While wrens do claim and nest in other birdhouses like a chickadee house or bluebird house, putting up a house specifically for wrens is the best way to bring them to your yard. You might consider mounting a Screech Owl house on a tree. They are a valuable asset to your backyard, as they feast on insects like moths and roaches and small rodents such as mice. Mounting a Screech Owl house at least 10‘ off the ground and facing any way but north may help you to draw them into your property. Put your bluebird houses on a pole or post about 5’ above ground in an open area without a lot of trees. Try a Ultimate Bluebird House. If you don’t have metal portal protectors on your houses get some inexpensive ones here. You also might consider using a Nest Lift to help maintain and keep babies safe, dry, and above moisture and pests. 

Depending on the season, birds change their diet according to their energy needs and food availability. The Northern Cardinal is a seed eater and feeds on a variety of wild plants. It also eats spiders and insects such as grasshoppers, crickets and caterpillars. In spring and summer, it also feeds on wild berries such as blackberries and a variety of other berries. Cardinals can’t resist the combination of nuts, safflower and sunflower seeds and kernels. In spring and summer (breeding season), the Black-Capped Chickadee prefers insect eggs, larvae and pupae. At the end of the summer, the Chickadee will make food reserves for the winter. It will hide food under the bark of a tree or in a patch of lichens. They are even able to remember where they hid food 28 days later. Chickadees aren’t shy, they love to come up and grab a sunflower kernel from your window feeder. 

The White-Breasted Nuthatch feeds on insect larvae, seeds, berries and like Chickadees, it will hide food for future cravings. During the winter, it can feed on seeds of conifer cones, thanks to their specialized beaks. These guys go head first to be the first birds to grab a whole peanut out of the shell from window feeders or a Spiral Peanut feeder. The diet of Woodpeckers consists mainly of insects, beetles, ants, caterpillars, larvae and spiders. In summer and autumn they can also eat berries. Woodpeckers have a distinctive beak which allows them to break the wood and find food in trees. Woodpeckers love suet. The American Goldfinch eats seeds from wild flowers such as thistles and sunflowers. During the summer it will also feed on insects, caterpillars, fly larvae and wasps. Thistle feeders stay full of Finches when filled with thistle or Cole’s Finch Friends. Blue Jays eat everything. They can eat wild fruit, seeds, insects, frogs, snails, caterpillars, mice, eggs and also nestlings. Their beak is capable of piercing through acorns, nuts and other hard shelled fruit. They also like to hide food in leaves or trees for later retrieval. Try Cole's Whole Peanuts in a Peanut Wreath. Birds can find a wide variety of food in the wild. Bird feeders can help birds in winter if their natural food becomes temporarily unavailable. But as a general rule, birds can find all they need in nature. Many studies have shown that they will use bird feeders for about 20% of their diet. 80% will be from natural sources. There’s no harm in feeding them and it allows us an opportunity to observe them and learn about them. It’s a great way for you and your family to connect to nature. Take Time to Listen to the Birds 

Featured Bird Feeder of the Month: Mealworm Feeders 


ALL Mealworm Feeders are 15% off throughout the month of March
Providing mealworms is the #1 way to attract bluebirds to your yard, stop in for more details! 

Check out the following wildlife cams in Georgia: 

Berry College Eagle Cam 

Great Horned Owls Nesting in Savannah 

Underwater Cam at Go Fish Education Center in Perry 

The Peregrine Falcon Cam on top the SunTrust Plaza Tower (50 stories above downtown Atlanta) 

Bird of the Month: Eastern Bluebird
 


• Male Eastern Bluebirds have a sky blue head, back and tail and a rusty colored breast. Females are grayer with faint blue tail and wings. 
•They are year-round residents in Georgia. 
• Eastern Bluebirds eat mostly insects, wild fruit and berries. They have been seen capturing and eating larger prey like shrews, salamanders, snakes, lizards, and tree frogs. Mealworms - live and dried - are a treat! They like suet and sunflower meats, too. 
• The Eastern Bluebird clutch size is 2-7 pale blue eggs with 1-3 broods per year. Incubation period is11-19 days and the nesting period is 15-18 days. The young from the first brood help to raise the next brood. 
• The key to attracting Bluebirds to nest in your yard is having plenty of potential nesting locations, food and water. Bluebirds do prefer “open areas”. The male will scout things out and then bring the females around to get final approval on a house. 
 They have a distinctive chur-lee chur chur-lee song. 
• The oldest recorded Eastern Bluebird was 10 years, 5 months old. 

Audubon Field Trips 


Check out the upcoming field trips from the Atlanta Audubon Society (get in touch with them for more information at (678-973-2437). Two this month is close by (*). 

Saturday March 7th Piedmont Park 8AM
 
Birding Focus: Lingering winter birds and permanent residents. All levels welcome. Excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain. 

Saturday March 7th Bird Walk at Dunwoody Nature Center 8:30AM 
Birding Focus: Wintering birds and permanent residents. Come explore the winter landscape of Dunwoody Park. This walk is open to birders of all abilities; families with children 10 and older are welcome. 

Saturday March 7th George Pierce Park 9AM
 
Birding Focus: Typical winter visitors and permanent residents: ducks, herons, woodpeckers, kinglets, thrushes, and sparrows. This park is one of the best places in Gwinnett County to bird at any time of year. The main park path we will take goes through the woods and features a boardwalk past a large wetlands pond. Bring water, snacks, binoculars, and comfortable walking shoes. All levels welcome. 

Sunday March 8th Noonday Creek 8AM 
Birding Focus: We will work along the 'sparrow field' in hopes of finding sparrows and other grass/weed-loving birds. Next it's on to the large, grassy 'water control bowl' and its dense riparian corridor for more sparrows, wrens, warblers, and more. Once the sun has warmed up the shadowy, brushy corridors and fields just north of the parking lot, we'll finish here in hopes of encountering some flocks with resident and early migrating birds. Any level of skill is welcome. 

Tuesday March 10th Cochran Shoals, CRNRA 7:30AM
 
Birding Focus: Permanent and lingering winter residents, including waterfowl, raptors, sparrows, woodpeckers, and warblers. The leader will also help us find flora, amphibians and reptiles, and butterflies. This walk is suitable for adults and children over 14 years of age. Please do not bring your dog. 

Wednesday March 11th Reynolds Nature Preserve 8AM
 
Birding Focus: Winter woodland birds such as woodpeckers, including Pileated Woodpeckers, and Barred Owls. The trail passes through mature deciduous forest and along several ponds. 

Wednesday March 18th Murphey Candler Park 8AM 
Birding Focus: Lingering winter visitors, early spring migrants, and residents, including waterfowl, shorebirds, and passerines. The site is also reliable for turtles. Three main habitats (lake, wetlands, mixed woods) provide good species diversity. This walk is suitable for adults and children over 14 years of age. Please do not bring your dog. This site can be especially good for beginning birders. 

Friday Match 20th Panola Mountain State Park 8AM 
Birding Focus: Winter residents of wetlands & forest, including sparrows, blackbirds, raptors, waterfowl, waders, and shorebirds. Those wishing to participate in this walk are requested to register with the Nature Center at the park by calling 770.389.7801. 

*Saturday March 21st Atlanta Science Festival Bird Walk at Fernbank Forest 8AM 
Birding Focus: This program is offered in conjunction with the Atlanta Science Festival. This is an opportunity to discover more about the feathered inhabitants of Fernbank Forest, both permanent residents and winter visitors. This program is excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain. All ages are welcome. Program is held rain or shine, but may be cancelled in cases of severe weather. We recommend participants bring binoculars, field guides and water with them. Advance reservations are required at 404-929-6400. Participants should check in at the Museum ticketing counter 15-20 minutes in advance of the program to receive a wristband. The group will meet in the museum lobby and depart promptly at 8 a.m. Due to the nature of the program, latecomers will not be accepted. Participant capacity is 40 people, so make your reservations today! 

Saturday March 21st Bird Walk at Dunwoody Nature Center 8:30AM
 
Birding Focus: Come explore the winter landscape of Dunwoody Park. We'll be exploring the woodland and wetland habitats as we look for wintering birds and permanent residents. This walk is open to birders of all abilities; families with children 10 and older are welcome. 

Saturday March 21st Hard Labor Creek State Park 2PM 
Birding Focus: Hard Labor Creek is the 2nd largest GA State Park. It boasts a variety of habitats and has a history of birds like Loggerhead Shrikes, American Kestrels, and a variety of waterfowl on Lake Rutledge. During this short walk, we'll look for lingering winter residents and early spring migrants, including woodland birds, waterfowl, and raptors. 

*Wednesday March 25th Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve 8AM
 
Birding Focus: Spring migrants and resident breeding birds. This walk is suitable for adults and children over 14 years of age. Please do not bring your dog. 

Friday March 27th Ft. Yargo State Park 10AM
 
Birding Focus: Fort Yargo State Park has some real interesting habitat on a very easy walk, the Bird Berry Trail. It is handicapped accessible, too. There are some really nice marshland areas, 275 acre Lake Marbury, and nice mixed hardwood forest. We will look for a variety of lingering winter visitors, early spring migrants, and permanent residents, including woodpeckers and warblers. 

Saturday March 28th Newman Wetlands Center and Huie Ponds of the CCWA 8AM 
Birding Focus: Residents, lingering winter birds, and early spring migrants including waterfowl, raptors, and woodland birds. We will walk the trails at the Newman Wetlands Center and then carpool to the Ponds of the CCWA where we will drive around the ponds, stopping to view the birds we find. Children 9 years and up are welcome if they are really interested in birds. 

Saturday March 28th DeKalb County Pole Bridge Wastewater Treatment Plant 8AM
Birding Focus: The Pole Bridge WWTP is one of two wastewater treatment plants in DeKalb County. The plant property includes over 600 acres of land serving as a buffer to the local community. The large open fields were formerly used for land application of waste sludge. That operation has now ended but the fields are still cut periodically for hay and the land provides great habitat for grassland species. Normally closed to the public, this site will be available for this special event courtesy of DeKalb County Watershed Management. We will be walking on dirt road and in fields. Hiking shoes are recommended. 

April 4th Piedmont Park 8AM 
Birding Focus: Migrants and permanent residents. All levels welcome. Excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain. 

Tuesday April 7th Cochran Shoals, CRNRA 7:30AM 
Birding Focus: Permanent and lingering winter residents, including waterfowl, raptors, sparrows, woodpeckers, and warblers. The leader will also help us find flora, amphibians and reptiles, and butterflies. This walk is suitable for adults and children over 14 years of age. Please do not bring your dog. 

Wednesday April 8th Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park 7:30AM 
Birding Focus: Migrating flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks. All levels are welcome. 

Wednesday April 8th Reynolds Nature Preserve 8AM 
Birding Focus: Winter woodland birds such as woodpeckers, including Pileated Woodpeckers, and Barred Owls. The trail passes through mature deciduous forest and along several ponds.

Hope to see you soon, 
Linda, Brittany, Jessica, Jeremy & Greyson 

The Garden Enthusiast - Backyard Nature Station 
2316 D Main Street Tucker, GA 30084 

Hours: Monday – Saturday 10am – 6PM Sunday: Closed 
Contact us at 404-474-7072 or linda.karr@thegardenenthusiast.com – we love to get your feedback!



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