The Garden Enthusiast - Backyard Nature Station Update June 2013

Fellow Backyard Nature Lovers, Thank you to everyone who came in and helped us celebrate our second anniversary! Thanks to Sweet Dee's, Local 7, and Growler Time for their contributions to the baskets! Thanks again to Chris McGregor for all the tools he sharpened and advice he gave on tools and Pam Higginbotham from the Atlanta Audubon Society for her talk on Summer Birds. 

 To all of you, who filled out our questionnaire, we really appreciate it. You told us that we're on track with our product selections and gave us good reviews on quality of products and service. Comments included: "You guys do great!"; "I love to come in and browse."; "Great items!"; "the experience is perfect!"; "Love the newsletter"; "Keep up the great work"; and, "please, more details on sales and store events."

If you have comments you would like to share, always feel free to email me... [email protected].

We had a number of people comment that they wanted to know more about specials going on in the store, so we have setup a separate email list. If you would like to be notified of store specials, as they occur just send an email to [email protected]. As always, we keep your email private and only use it for communicating information you have requested. 

The winners of our Anniversary Celebration baskets worth approximately $200 each were Cele Carothers and Sue Silver, Congratulations!! 

It's time to celebrate the fathers in our life. Father's Day is Sunday, June 16th. 

We've got some great tools such as the Kombi shovel, Felco and Barnel pruners and some heavy duty garden gloves. Maybe he needs a new thermometer or rain gauge. Our Jeffersonian collection is 40% off. These are unique brass weather instruments with a lifetime guarantee. And, of course, we do have a great selection of birdhouses, birdfeeders and birdbaths. I hope you're able to spend the day with your Dad and let him know how special he is. 

Gardening in Paradise 

A new feature starting this month comes to us from Costa Rica, where Scott is in the construction phase of an Aquaponics Project which includes the building of a thirty-foot geodesic dome greenhouse. The goal of the project is to create a working lab and school for teaching students how to create their own Sustainable Aquaculture in a Backyard setting which can be duplicated when they come back home and to develop best-practices for High Density Gardening techniques. His first Blog Article can be read here. This month covers the overview of the project and follow-up articles will get into the nuts-and-bolts of how to build and maintain a Backyard Aquaponics system.

Backyard Nature and Garden Appreciation Program

Strengthening and Encouraging our community's interest in Backyard Nature and Gardening is very important to us. To further that goal we are implementing a periodic recognition program to reward our neighbors that share in our enthusiasm. In our inaugural contest we're looking for gardens that attract hummingbirds, other birds and butterflies. They may have a combination of flowers, natural habitat and/or feeders, etc. If you have a neighbor that you believe should be recognized for their efforts, or if you would like to nominate your own yard, click here for the nomination form and here for the rules. Nominations run through June 15th and the winners will be announced in our next newsletter. Gift Certificates redeemable at the store or on our website will be awarded in the following amounts: First Place - $100; Second Place - $50; Third Place - $25. Good Luck!!

National Fairy Gardening Day is June 24th 

We will be celebrating with our Fairy Gardening Class on Saturday, June 22nd. See our class schedule below for more information. From June 17th through the 22nd we'll also have some miniature plants available for sale - a great time to find something new for your fairy gardens, terrariums and other mini gardens. We'll have miniature Hosta from Popo's Garden - 8 different varieties and other plants. Get 15% off miniatures during this time (does not include plants).

Popo's Garden Plant Sale

Something else new for June: Starting June 8th and every Saturday in June during store hours, we'll have plants available for sale from Popo's Garden. This will include several varieties of Hosta (from minis to giants), ferns, spreading yew, banana trees (hardy for Georgia), and planted miniature gardens. I know many of you like to support small local business. This is a local nursery.

Check out our new display "in progress" with fountains, garden stakes and more.

Are you interested in becoming a Master Gardener?  

Information sessions for the 2014 class will be in September. You can e-mail [email protected] or [email protected] with your contact info, and you will be added to their list. 

From Our Customers

A customer today suggested that we put our store address on the home page. She's from Peachtree Corners and had been in once before but couldn't remember how to get here. She finally found it but said it would have been easier if she could have pulled it right up.  You can now find a link to map & directions on the front page of the website.

On a warm day recently a couple was walking their dog in front of the store and asked if there was water anywhere for their dog. So, we now have a water bowl in front of the store for our canine friends


What's New in the Store

Birding: Bird I View Window Clings - Put them on your windows so you can identify your birds as they stop for a visit. It lists 31 Eastern backyard birds with information on what type of food and feeders they like. Great for beginner birders of all ages!
Gardening: plant markers/stakes; Frog Plant Ties; QwikLift (allows you to share the load by providing an ergonomically safe means of picking up and moving heavy, awkward-to-lift objects, such as large flowerpots, landscaping stones, tree root balls, firewood rounds, bags of mulch, feed, cement, etc. Ruggedly built, it easily handles objects weighing up to 150 pounds); seed trays, bird feeders
Garden Art: Kitras balls, border vanes, solar lanterns 
Children: Kid's hats 
Tool Shed: Critter Repellent Granules
Other: David's Garden (local) - Hot & Regular Pickled Okra, Old Fashioned Lime Pickles, Bread & Butter Pickles, Hot & Sweet Crunchy Dill, Sweet & Crunchy Dill, Sourwood honey

It's mosquito time! 

Mosquito control is not only important because of West Nile Virus but it also allows you to enjoy your garden without the threat of being "eaten alive". An allergic reaction to the mosquito's saliva is what causes the red bump and itching when you are bitten. Mosquitos can also transmit several diseases that dogs are susceptible to.

There are over 200 different species of mosquitoes in the United States and they all share one thing in common which is a four-stage life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The first three stages occur in water. Only in the adult stage are they an active flying insect and only the female bites and feeds on human and animal blood. The life cycle can take from 4 to 30 days depending on conditions.

What can you do to protect yourself and your garden?
  • Removing the mosquito habitat is perhaps the most significant thing you can do. Anything that collects water can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes - potted plant trays and saucers, buckets, tree holes, toys - any standing water. Make sure there is no standing water in your yard. Ground covers, like ivy, can also be a problem.
  • Cover any gaps in your clothing where mosquitoes can get to your skin.
  • Stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active - sunrise, sunset and early evening.
  • Use yellow "bug" lights in your outdoor lights which attract fewer mosquitos.
  • "Gap proof" your home to prevent them from entering.
Check out our mosquito section in the store for aids/repellents such as Cocoa Peat, Mosquito Dunks & Granules, Water Wigglers, Mosquito Repellent Patio Lantern, Bat houses, Blooms Citronella Spiral Incense (The coil has a burn time of approximately 336 hours or 14 days). Our Organic Insect Repellent Spray Oil and Insect Repellent Soap have both gotten rave reviews from Scott down in the mosquito filled tropics. He says that those products are the most effective he's used.

Classes & Events

Saturday, June 8th, 11 - 2 Marbling Fabric (Christy Foelsch)
Kids Go Wild teams up with us again for this class. Use a little shaving cream, add some color and be amazed. Pack a sack lunch. Free. Register Here.

Thursday, June 13th, 10:30-12 Flowers and Butterflies in Watercolor (Jeanne George)
This month we will continue our botanical studies creating watercolor paintings of the flowers most frequented by butterflies.  Last month's class is not a prerequisite for this month. Please bring a white plate or a palette, (or palette from last month). Paper and 
Small Iris by Nahum Nicholas
other supplies will be provided. Cost-$24 includes 2 watercolor brushes. Please email Jeanne ~ [email protected] for questions about supplies/brushes. Class size limited to 7.  
Participants really enjoyed last month's class. Note Nahum's beautiful watercolor from last month. Register Here
 

Saturday, June 22nd 10:30am Fairy Garden Class (Edna Lora)

What tiny magical creature could resist a lovely path through a make-believe landscape?  Arranging pint-sized plants, just so, creates little forests, mossy meadows and secret gardens.  These tiny creations are surely to attract the faerie creatures that will make the running of your home glitch free. In fact, if you are finding your gadgets acting up or your keys going missing, the solution is to get tiny magical creatures on your side. Provide them a tiny home and watch the results!  Learn how to create tiny landscapes. We will talk about how and where to find, make and buy treasures to build them with and make your tiny little gardens irresistible to fairies. Cost - $20.00 Includes small container, soil, and moss. There will be tiny plants and garden accessories available for purchase. Register Here.

Saturday, August 24th 10 -11am "Attracting Butterflies: What, Where and How to Garden" (Dawn Hines) 

This Powerpoint presentation includes many photographs about the life cycle of butterflies, caterpillars, and important elements of the best garden for attracting butterflies. Register early, as this class is expected to fill up fast.

Old Town Tucker Update/Happenings

A farewell to Eric's Fit Lab. Eric and his fellow trainers have moved off Main Street around the corner to 4176 First Avenue.  We're glad they are staying close by. We'll miss their presence on Main Street and in our building. You could regularly hear the music as they worked out and see them around as they ran, walked and exercised - lots of energy! They have already opened the doors to the new facility. Eric will host a Grand Opening celebration at 6pm on June 12th. Check it out and see if you're ready to "get fit"!


We hope you had a chance to visit our two booths during Tucker Day on May 11th. Ian wowed the customer showing off the tools.  Ann's jewelry was a hit as always. Jim's collegiate birdhouses attracted lots of interest (many of the gentlemen noting how great of a Father's Day Gift they would make -hint, hint).




The Georgia Hosta & Cut Leaf show was the same day. Hopefully, you found your way over to Tucker Methodist Church for that. They had some great vendors and some beautiful hosta leaves and arrangements. We were pleased to bring home some ribbons.

Over 100 people visited the gardens during the Tucker Historical Society Garden tour on Saturday, May 18th. Even though there had been a threat of rain, it didn't materialize and it was great day to tour the six gardens. Brittany (and Greyson) and I took turns to visit the gardens. I took some pictures of each. So if you weren't able to attend you'll be to get an idea of what you missed.  Make sure you get the date on your calendar for next year - May 17th. For more details a lots more pictures, click here.
There were artists from the Tucker Arts Guild in several of the gardens displaying and selling their art.

Kudos to the gardeners for sharing their love of gardening with others!

If you know of a garden that should be considered for next year's garden tour contact the Tucker Historical Society at [email protected].


Community Events and Spirit



Reminder - There's still time to get your application in: Attention Dekalb County Schools (Teachers and/or parents can call): The Dekalb County Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. has money for YOU! If your school has a project which beautifies its grounds, sets up and continues a garden of any kind, or does any sort of ecological or environmental education for its students, you may be eligible for $200 (the minimum) grant money through a Federation program called "The B.E.E. Grant" and all it takes is a phone call to learn more. Call Judy Lemoine, the Chair of the B.E.E. Committee, at her home: 770-934-8541. If you leave a message and your number, your call will be returned within a day. They want your school! Applications are being accepted now. The deadline is September. For Dekalb County public schools only! 

June 9th, 12:30-2 PM Tucker Civic Association's "Give An Hour", Tucker First United Methodist Church Activity Center
They will be packing the lunches for the "Smart Lunch, Smart Kid" program, which provides children who receive free or reduced-price lunches during the school year with access to healthy lunches during the summer. You can drop off donations of bottled water, 100% juice boxes, individually wrapped chips, pretzels, crackers, or fruit (applesauce, fruit cups, dried fruit, or fruit roll ups) at this time. For more information, please go to www.tuckercivic.org 

Monday, June 10th and 24th, Tucker Together, First Christian Church of Atlanta, 4532 Lavista Road, Tucker
Topic on June 10th: Parks and Green spaces; Topic for June 24th TBA. For more information, go to www.tuckertogether.com. Information will also be posted on the website for the Smoke Rise Community Association and the Tucker Civic Association. 

Thursdays from 4 - 8 PM Tucker Farmers Market is open for its second season at 2333 Main Street in the Freemasons Square and Bank of America parking lot. 

Other Backyard Nature Events

Last Sunday of the month, Sunday in the Garden, Woodlands Garden, 2-4 PM 932 Scott Blvd. Decatur, GA 30030
Put on your walking shoes and explore Decatur's seven-acre garden and Georgia Piedmont native plant habitat. Volunteers welcome you and provide helpful information. Musical surprises await. Free and open to the public. 
June 30, July 28, August 25, September 29

Saturday, June 8th, 7 PM Frogs of GA Workshop & Frog Slog
Join the Atlanta Audubon Society (AAS) for a special workshop on the frogs of Georgia with state herpetologist John Jenson. The evening will begin indoors with a two-hour introductory class on our amphibian friends. Participants will learn how to identify common frog species by sight and sound. After sunset, the group will head out for a nighttime frog slog. The workshop will take place at the Newman Wetlands Center, 2755 Freeman Road, Hampton. $50 AAS members / $60 non-members. The cost includes a copy of the new "Calls of the Wild - Vocalizations of Georgia's Frogs" CD. Secure your spot now by downloading a registration form and sending your completed form with payment to the AAS office, 4055 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30342.

GARDENING, ETC.

It's time to plant your garden if you haven't already done so. We've got cucumber, tomato, squash, carrots, beans, broccoli, sprouts and lots more seeds still in stock as well as herb and flower seeds.

Why do you garden? What inspired you to start? How can you share this with others in your life - especially our youngest generation? Gardening can be a great bonding experience. It can be a time to learn how to enjoy and appreciate nature, to learn to grow your own vegetables, to plant flowers that give beauty and joy, and a time of peace - to learn to enjoy the solitude of nature.

Think about giving little ones their own set of garden tools and their own space to garden. Help them pick out seeds and/or plants. Some seeds that might be fun for them include sunflower, colorful baby carrots (Carrot Carnival Blend), Pumpkins (Little October) and tomatoes such as Grape Jelly Bean. Make sure they help to take care of their garden, too - watering, weeding and harvesting. It's a great way to spend a little time with them every day. 

Don't have a space to garden? Smoke Rise Community Garden and Hometown Harvest still have spots available!

To contact Smoke Rise Community Garden: http://smokerisecommunitygarden.com/

To participate in the Hometown Harvest Garden, email Janet [email protected]

BIRDING

Many of us have seen a Ruby-throated hummingbird or two in passing. Remember that this is their breeding time. In early July you should start to see more activity around your feeders. Keep your feeders clean and with fresh nectar.

People are reporting seeing the second brood of Bluebirds. I've seen more Bluebirds this spring in our backyard than ever before.

Bird of the Month:  Brown Thrasher

  • The Brown Thrasher was selected the state bird of Georgia in 1928 by schoolchildren, declared the state bird in 1935 by Governor Eugene Talmadge but not officially adopted until 1970. The Brown Thrasher was also the inspiration for our former hockey team, the Atlanta Thrashers. 
  • It has reddish-brown upper parts with a buff chest with dark tear-dropped markings. Their eyes are a brilliant yellow. Their bill is long and curves downward.
  • The Brown Thrasher can range from 9-12" in length.
  • The Brown Thrasher is noted for having over 1,100 song types, and the largest repertoire of birds. They are also noted for their mimicry.
  • Their diet consists of fruits, nuts, seeds, and insects.
  • They usually nest in shrubs or small trees, or sometimes at ground level.
  • Brown Thrashers can be very territorial especially when defending their nests. 
  • Breeding usually starts in February and March. During the courting ritual the male and female typically present gifts to each other such as a twig or leaf. They build the nest, incubate it and feed the young together.
  • The female typically lays 3-5 bluish or greenish tinted eggs with reddish-brown spots. Eggs hatch within 11-14 days. The babies fledge within 9-13 days. They can have 2-3 broods per year.
  • The lifespan of a Brown Thrasher can reach 12 years.
Listen

Audubon Field Trips

The Atlanta Audubon Society always has some great field trips check these out coming up through April (get in touch with them for more information at 678-973-2437.

Wednesday, June 5 Heritage Park � 9:00AM 
Birding Focus: We will look for summer breeding birds of the wetlands and woodlands. Heritage Park is a 105-acre nature preserve. The park's 1.7-mile walking trail has an elevated boardwalk over wetlands, travels through forests along Nickajack Creek, passes the ruins of Concord Woolen Mills, and is near the historic Concord Covered Bridge. Heritage Park is a soft surface walking trail, essentially flat with a short hilly area by the ruins. Dress appropriately and wear supportive footwear. Note: families and children are welcome on this walk.

Thursday, June 6 Murphey Candler Park � 7:30AM 
Birding Focus: Three main habitats (lake, wetlands, mixed woods) provide good species diversity. We will especially be on the lookout for resident warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and other passerines. The site is also reliable for turtles. This is a good site for beginners, but all are welcome. Some of the trail is level, but there are several steep spots and a number of stretches where the surface is uneven from exposed tree roots, etc. Many parts of the trail are muddy and/or slippery after rains; plan your footwear accordingly. The duration of walk is 3 hours, but you may leave at any time. 

Sunday, June 9 Hard Labor Creek State Park � 8:00AM 
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. We'll look for woodland birds, waterfowl, raptors, and other residents.

Friday, June 14 Sweetwater Creek State Park � 9:00AM 
Birding Focus: Permanent and breeding residents of wetlands and forest, including herons, wood ducks, warblers, thrushes, and vireos. With its falls, overlooks, and lake, Sweetwater Creek State Park is Georgia's most-visited state park and is the closest state park to the city of Atlanta. It offers a diverse birding habitat of woodlands, streams, wetlands, grasslands and a large lake.

Saturday, June 22 Big Creek Greenway � 8:30AM 
Birding Focus: Common breeding species of songbirds, woodpeckers, raptors, and wetland species. Note: Walk geared toward beginner's and kids (ages 6+), but all are welcome. The route is paved with some boardwalk. Binoculars will be available to borrow.

Sunday, June 23 Leone Hall Price Park � 8:00AM 
Birding Focus: We'll be looking for summer breeding/resident birds. Any level of skill is welcome. Walk will be approx. 3 miles on natural paths, easy terrain. Habitats: meadow, wooded and creek edge paths. If you arrive late, join us in the meadow area. Take the left gate entrance and follow that trail to the meadow area. 

Wednesday, June 26 Cochran Shoals, CRNRA � 7:30AM 
Birding Focus: Sparrows, woodpeckers, raptors, and other breeding residents, as well as waterfowl and herons on the river or in the wetlands. Interesting plants & other wildlife sightings will be incorporated into the walk too! 

Saturday, June 29 Reynolds Nature Preserve � 8:00AM 
Birding Focus: Woodland birds such as Pileated Woodpecker, Barred Owl, Wood Thrush, and Acadian Flycatcher. Very wide, flat trail less than 2 miles round trip, through mature deciduous forest and along several ponds. Check out their website above for more details. 

Sunday, June 30 Panola Mountain State Park � 8:00AM 
Birding Focus: Permanent wetland & forest residents, including warblers, vireos, flycatchers, sparrows, blackbirds, raptors, waterfowl, waders, and shorebirds

Hope to see you soon,

Linda, Brittany, Jessica, Jeremy, Stephen & 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 [email protected] � we love to get your feedback!

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