The Garden Enthusiast - Backyard Nature Station Update

May 2013

Fellow Backyard Nature Lovers,

We're now officially two! Come help us celebrate April 29th through May 4th. We have so many specials planned that there are too many to list but here are a few highlights:

20% off Cricket Forge products (yes, the maker of the butterfly bench)

$5 off Droll Yankee feeders

15% off Squirrel Busters

15% off all fountains

15% Glass birdbaths and stands

15% Kitras Art Glass

20% Children's swings

20% Puzzles

25% Pamela Crawford Planters

It's a great time to get a gift for Mother's Day which is Sunday, May 12th!

We're also getting in more products and to make room we will be adding more to the clearance section. (All clearance sales are final.)

Don't forget to fill out our survey and get your name in a drawing for a gift basket.

We end the week on May 4th with two events.

From 10 - 4 Chris McGregor from Horizons will be giving demonstrations and answering questions on garden tool care and use. He will also be offering free hand pruner sharpening during this time.

From 10:30 - 11:30 am Pam Higginbotham from the Atlanta Audubon Society will give a talk on Common Summer Birds. Please preregister or call (404-474-7072)! Many of you have been asking help in identifying birds you've been seeing in your yards. This will be a great time to get them identified! Bring a picture if you can or maybe you'll recognize them in Pam's presentation.

As we stated in our last newsletter, we are pleased to announce the launch of our new online store: The site is full of new features such as Calendar of Events, Online Class Registration, Current Nature and Community Articles, as well as detailed descriptions and availability of the thousands of products in our store - many including video, and all with the ability for you to leave your comments and thoughts to help guide other Backyard Nature Enthusiasts in our community. Starting with this month's newsletter, we will be using our new domain for sending out the newsletter. The new email address will be [email protected]. We'd love to hear comments and suggestions for our newsletter, as well as for our Retail and eCommerce stores.

We will have two booths in front of our store for Tucker Day. One will be filled with great tools for your garden and the other will be showcasing two of our featured local artists - Jim Jackson with his birdhouses and Ann O'Rourke with her nature inspired jewelry.

We will be closed on Monday, May 27th for Memorial Day.

Comments From Our Customers

"I just read your newsletter and found our plant sale listed under community events. THANK YOU SO MUCH! This is the best newsletter around--you are really a wonderful supporter of the community." From Lynn A. Georgia Native Plant Society

"Great service you provide, Linda! The dates of events in the area usually reach my attention in dribs and drabs if at all, so it's wonderful to have the extensive lists you provided. Thank You!", Lucy W.

"It was such a pleasure to have found your store, you really know your stuff girl...  Will be back!!!" Trisha M.

"I have been looking over my house for tiny items I could include in a Fairy Garden. Our Tuesday night meeting was one of the best we have ever had. Thank you for your inspiration.", Jane M

Questions From Our Customers

Q. I've seen hummingbirds in my yard and I've had my feeders (2) up since early April, but I'm not getting any activity except for ants. What can I do? Joan R

A.  Joan, a number of things could be happening. First, hummingbirds don't like to compete with ants. Luckily, a pretty easy solution to your problem is hanging your hummingbird feeders with an ant guard or ant trap. These simple and inexpensive products allow you to create a "mote" which the ants won't cross.  It's also important to keep your feeders clean and filled with fresh nectar. Nectar can quickly ferment, especially in the hot sun. Not only is this bad for the birds, hummingbirds will avoid feeders that they have found to contain tainted nectar. We recommend that you clean and change the nectar in your feeders at least weekly. It's best to move your feeders, if they have had contaminated nectar, as the hummingbirds will remember and avoid them. A simple nectar can be made by combining one part white sugar with four parts water in a pot and bringing to a boil for one to two minutes. If you try these ideas, you are sure to get your share of hummingbirds at your feeders. Enjoy!

What's New in the Store
Birding: hummingbird feeders, glass birdbaths

Gardening: glass rooters, garden kneelers, rain gauges, weeder, plant markers/stakes

Garden Art: Kitras balls, cherubs, stepping stones (or can use as wall decor) with classic sayings, glow in the dark fairies, garden stakes, message rocks, collection of frogs - some doing yoga, stargazing and more, border vanes

Miniatures: garden gates, bridges, mini stepping stones, fairy door

Other: Bug Off soap; back in stock:  Anti Poison Ivy soap, Bug Off oil; Grandma's Secret Spot Remover

Going on vacation? - Don't forget your plant nanny for automatic watering of your houseplants. We have different styles in stock.

Classes & Events

Please call us at 404-474-7072 or visit our webpage  to pre-register for classes.

Thursday, May 9th, 10:30-12: Botanical Watercolor Painting (Jeanne George) 
Create a watercolor while learning the parts of the flower. Includes all materials. Cost: $16 register here.
Saturday, May 18th, 11- 2 Mono Printing (Christy Foelsch)
Kids Go Wild is teaming up with us to present this program. Create amazing one of a kind art using fabric, paper, or hard card stock. Learn to layer, cut, and reprint your creation for a dazzling surface design that will thrill and delight. You will experience an endless flow of artistic creation as you play with color and texture. Pack a sack lunch. Free. Register here.
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.
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.

Old Town Tucker Update/Happenings

Join the Local No. 7 on Saturday May 4th for Kentucky Derby Day! Watch the horse race live on 3 TV's and 1 projection screen. Enjoy a pint of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, a Mint Julep or one of our other delicious specialty cocktails. Wear your biggest and best hat for their hat contest and be sure to go early to pick your winning horse for fun, gift certificates and lots of prizes!

What's new in Tucker?  Atlanta Treehouse, "A Creative Alternative to Standard Play sets", is now open on Main Street.  Atlanta Treehouse is your premier destination for tree house fun!  Let your imagination run wild with a custom tree house, or choose from or selection of standard plans.  Visit them at

CHECK THIS OUT! Clarkston Lodge No. 492, Masters Lodge No. 295, Stone Mountain Lodge No. 449, and Tucker Lodge No. 42 are partnering again this year to hold a GACHIP event at Tucker Day.  The Georgia Child Identification Program (GACHIP) is one of the most comprehensive child recovery, identification, and abduction awareness programs to be offered to the parents in the State of Georgia.  At a CHIP event each child progresses through several stations taking about 10-15 minutes for the entire process.  These stations will be set up at the Appraisal Group Res offices at 2339 Main Street. GACHIP provides a valuable tool for the parents or guardians on a small computer disk that includes:   

  • Full color digital photographs showing various poses of the child:  These color photographs can be circulated by the police to the media in the case of abduction and can be used in the Amber Alert Program.
  • A complete set of digital fingerprints:  Everyone's fingerprints are unique and are a well-known tool for recovery, investigation and identification.
  • DNA and Scent:  The swift recovery of a missing person can be aided by tracking dogs.
  • Information about the child including:  Distinguishing features such as hair and eye color, scars, etc. The disk will also contain contact information for parents or guardians.

The recorded information is presented to the child's parents or guardian to take home for safekeeping.  All of the identifying information collected is given to the family and the GACHIP program retains only the permission slip that must be signed prior to participation; all other data is permanently erased after the child's document is prepared. Privacy is our number one criteria.

Georgia Masons present the GACHIP program free of charge to the public as a public service and a gift to the citizens of our state:

Community Events and Spirit

Reminder: 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! Update: Judy has received a few applications but there is still time to get yours in.

The Smoke Rise Community Garden is celebrating its first anniversary. There are plans for the installation of a pollinator bed and several bee hives in the very near future. The little garden with a big heart is a recipient of the Tucker Civic Association garden grant. The money will be used to build a work shed. Smoke Rise Community Garden is a pesticide free garden. Spaces are available for rent for $60 with a one year commitment. Please visit the website for plot rental information.

Tuesday, April 30th 7 - 9 pm Tucker Together Steering Committee Meeting (first public meeting)

St Andrews Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Hall -Tucker Together is a coalition of members from Tucker Civic Association (TCA), Smoke Rise Community Association (SRCA), Tucker Business Association (TBA), Mainstreet Tucker Alliance (MTA), Tucker Historical Society (THS), Tucker Parent Council and Dekalb Public Safety.  This meeting will be the first of several community meetings to discuss ideas for the Tucker Community. Tucker Together is neither in support or opposed to cityhood. The group's primary focus is to provide the Tucker community with accurate information so that the community can make informed decisions about the prospects and pitfalls of incorporation. Now is an important time for the community to understand what is ahead and hear all of the issues involved in this important decision. This is a learning opportunity for all.  The meeting is open to all interested parties. At this meeting the discussion will center on public safety, the process involved in incorporating a city, and what happens when you incorporate.

Saturday, May 11th, 9 - 3:30 Georgia Hosta Society 24th Annual Show & Plant Sale: Southern Sunrise -Tucker First United Methodist Church/Wesley Center  

There will be lots of gorgeous hostas, the classics and the cutting edge ones, as well as other great plants for purchase.   -


Saturday, May 11th, 9 - 4, Tucker Day on Main Street

Saturday, May 11th, 5 - 8:30 Tucker Cruise In

Saturday, May 18th - 9am - 5 pm: 2013 Eleventh Annual Tucker Historical Society Garden Tour

Six different unique gardens right here in Tucker. Come experience them and take home some ideas! Tickets are now available at The Garden Enthusiast for $10. Day of tour they will be $15.


Join TCA for the May Give an Hour service project. Volunteers will be sprucing up the new Young People Matter (YPM) shelter located at 4315 Cowan Road in preparation for their grand opening.  Along with emergency shelter for up to 20 youth, services at the new YPM Center will include a Drop-In Center where young people can obtain basic necessities as well as support services and training. Volunteers will be painting, trimming shrubbery and laying down mulch at the new shelter. Bring rakes, shovels, loppers, paint brushes, rollers and buckets and work gloves. Snacks and water will be provided. For more information about the workday email [email protected].

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

Gardening, ETC.

The Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College Decatur Campus is a true gem. I know it's not particularly close but if you haven't been there to visit the garden or to one of their plant sales, you're missing a woodland treat! There is also a plant sale each week. Admission is FREE!

  • May 4th: Native Woody Species and Improved Cultivars for the Urban Landscape
  • May 11th: Seed Collection, Storage and Sowing
  • May 18th: TBA
  • May 25th: A Few of My Favorite Shrubs

Plant sales, 10 - 2 (Map and Directions)    3251 Panthersville Road     Decatur, GA    678-891-2668 - call for more information.


Birding as a hobby is second only to gardening, which is the number one hobby in the United States. Do you want to become more involved? Check out . This program is through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. "Participating in NestWatch is easy and just about anyone can do it, although children should always be accompanied by an adult when observing bird nests. Simply follow the directions on their website to become a certified NestWatcher, find a bird nest using their helpful tips, visit the nest every 3-4 days and record what you see, and then report this information on their website. Your observations will be added to those of thousands of other NestWatchers in a continually growing database used by researchers to understand and study birds. Without your help it would be impossible to gather enough information to accurately monitor nesting birds across the country. And while you are contributing extremely valuable information to science, you will learn firsthand about birds and create a lifelong bond with the natural world."

I spotted our fist Ruby-throated hummingbird on April 9th.  A customer came in on the 22nd and said she had seen her first baby bluebirds. Other sightings?

Come hear Pam Higginbotham talking on May 4th about our Summer Birds!

Bird of the Month:  Eastern Towhee
Eastern Towee

  • The Eastern Towhee male is black with red-brown sides, a white belly and a long dark tail with white edges. The female is brown instead of black.

  • The female Eastern Towhee builds a cup like nest and has two broods per year. She lays 3 - 4 eggs that are a creamy white with brown markings. Incubation is 12 -13 days. The young usually fledge 10 -12 days after hatching.

  • They typically nest on or near the ground.

  • The Eastern Towhee eats seed, insects, and fruit.

  • They have a characteristic call which sounds like "drink your tea".Eastern Towee(Listen)

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.

*The starred ones are very close by!

Saturday, April 27 Georgia International Horse Park - 7:00AM 
Birding Focus: This property has an excellent variety of woodland, wetland, and open field habitats. We will focus on spring neotropical migrants (warblers, tanagers, vireos, thrushes, etc.) and local breeding species including Acadian Flycatcher, Prothonotary and Hooded Warblers, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager and many others.

Saturday, April 27 Kennesaw Mountain State Park - 7:30AM 
Birding focus: Premier migrant hotspot in the SE. We'll be looking for any migrants, primarily flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks. Walk is ~ 2.5 miles total. There is a free bird checklist specifically for the park available upon request in the Visitor Center.

Wednesday, May 1 Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park - 7:30AM
Birding focus: Premier migrant hotspot in the SE. We'll be looking for any migrants, primarily flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks. Walk is ~ 2.5 miles total.
 There is a free bird checklist specifically for the park available upon request in the Visitor Center.

Saturday, May 4 Pettit Preserve - 8:00AM 
Birding Focus: late spring migrants and summer residents. All levels welcome. Excellent for beginning birders.

Saturday, May 4 Piedmont Park - 8:00AM 
Birding Focus: Migratory, permanent & winter residents. All levels welcome. Excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain. Walk lasts ~ 3 hours with ~ 2.5 miles on foot.

Saturday, May 4 Williams Mill Greenspace - 8:00AM  
Birding Focus: Williams Mill is a 48 acre park with rolling meadows, streams, natural shoals, and two small ponds that attract a variety of bird species. The park is certified as a Wildlife Sanctuary with the Atlanta Audubon Society. More than 45 species of birds have been seen at Williams Mill, in addition to the many other types of wildlife that call the park home. We might see Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Louisiana Waterthrush, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat, Red-shouldered Hawk, Yellow-breasted Chat, and a variety of other species. The hike should be about 1.5 - 2.0 miles on developed trails (some earthen).

Sunday, May 5 Noonday Creek Trail - 8:00AM 
Birding Focus: Spring Migrants and wetland regulars. Wetland and wooded habitats. Any level of skill is welcome; the walk will be 3+ miles along a paved route of easy terrain.

Wednesday, May 8 Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park - 7:30AM  
Birding focus: Premier migrant hotspot in the SE. We'll be looking for any migrants, primarily flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks. Walk is ~ 2.5 miles total.
 There is a free bird checklist specifically for the park available upon request in the Visitor Center.

Wednesday, May 8 Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area - 8:00AM  
Birding Focus: We will look for incoming migrants, breeding species and a few left over winter residents, perhaps. Habitats in Dawson Forest include old fields, wetlands, freshwater ponds, and mixed pine/hardwood forests. Bring binoculars and walking shoes. 

*Saturday, May 11 Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve - 7:30AM 
Birding Focus: Permanent resident wetland & woodland birds plus spring migrants. Duration of walk 2-3 hours, but you may leave at any time. Parts of the trail may be very slippery or muddy if it has recently rained, so plan your footwear accordingly.

Saturday, May 11 International Migratory Bird Day at Red Top Mountain State Park - 8:00AM 
Birding Focus: Come celebrate International Migratory Bird Day! We will look for spring migrants & resident birds of woodlands, fields, & lakes. This trip will start on the Lakeside Trail, which makes a 0.5 mile loop around a restored 1869 log cabin with field and woodlands habitat & a view of Allatoona Lake. It is ADA accessible for the full length. Other areas of the Park also will be explored.

*Saturday, May 11 Stone Mountain Park Songbird Trail - 8:00AM 
Birding Focus: This will be a 1.5 mile easy walk for all skill levels. The Songbird Habitat is managed in an early successional stage & is an excellent spot for Indigo Buntings, Yellow-breasted Chats, Sparrows, Blue Grosbeaks, and others. During migration many of the wood warblers and other migrants will be here, too. Fernbank Science Center, in conjunction with the Stone Mountain Memorial Association is offering this walk to teach people about birds in their natural environment. Please bring your own binoculars. Checklists will be provided.

Saturday, May 11 E.L. Huie Land Application Facility and Newman Wetlands Center - 10:00AM 
Birding Focus: We will meet at the parking lot at Newman Wetlands Center. We will first go around the boardwalk and search for migrating passerines and residents. Then we will carpool over to the E. L. Huie treatment ponds to search for more birds, especially migrating ducks and shorebirds. Bring snacks, water, and binoculars. A scope is optional but helpful for the ponds. This walk is geared toward beginners, but anyone is welcome.

Saturday, May 11 Fort Yargo State Park - 12:00PM 
Birding Focus: Come celebrate Migratory Bird Month with Georgia State Parks! 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 woodpeckers, warblers, spring migrants and some nice common birds.

*Saturday, May 18 Fernbank Forest for AAS Members Only - 8:00AM  

Birding Focus: Discover more about the feathered inhabitants of Fernbank Forest, both permanent residents and, possibly, a few late spring migrants. 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. Cost: Free for Atlanta Audubon members (does not include museum admission). Advance reservations are required at 404-929-6400.

Sunday, May 19 Panola Mountain State Park - 8:00AM 
Birding Focus: Come celebrate Migratory Bird Month at Georgia State Parks! Permanent wetland & forest residents as well as spring migrants, including warblers, vireos, flycatchers, sparrows, blackbirds, raptors, waterfowl, waders, and shorebirds. 

Thursday, May 23 Cochran Shoals CRNRA - 7:30AM 
Birding Focus: Sparrows, woodpeckers, raptors, spring migrants, permanent 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.

Sunday, May 26 Leone Hall Price Park - 8:00AM 
Birding Focus: Late spring migrants and summer breeding birds. Any level of skill is welcome; no restrooms on the property, Kroger nearby. Walk will be approx. 3 miles on natural paths, easy terrain. Habitats: meadow, wooded and creek edge paths.

Monday, May 27 Hard Labor Creek State Park - 12:00PM 
Birding Focus: Come celebrate Migratory Bird Month with Georgia State Parks! 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 as well as any spring migrants.

*Thursday, May 30 Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve - 7:30AM 
Birding Focus:
 Permanent resident wetland & woodland birds plus any late spring migrants still hanging about. Duration of walk 2-3 hours, but you may leave early at any time. Parts of the trail may be very slippery or muddy if it has recently rained, so plan your footwear accordingly.

Saturday, June 1 Piedmont Park - 8:00AM 
Birding Focus: Migratory, permanent & winter residents. All levels welcome. Excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain. Walk lasts ~ 3 hours with ~ 2.5 miles on foot.

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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