The Garden Enthusiast - Backyard Nature Station Update January 2014 
Table of Contents 
What’s New in the Store 

Classes & Events 
Old Town Tucker Update/Happenings 
Community Events and Spirit 
Other Backyard Nature Events 
Local Pictures 
Great Backyard Bird Count 
Bird of the Month: Yellow-rumped Warbler 
Audubon Field Trips 

Fellow Backyard Nature Lovers, 

As a kid growing up in Decatur, I use to love our ‘ice days’. We really never saw much snow but we did use to get some pretty good ice storms. We’d try to sled down our neighbor’s lawn in cardboard boxes. Our ‘houses’ made from the Christmas trees we collected, sparkled under the ice. I have to admit, I enjoyed the few snowflakes we had on Monday but, boy, it’s nice to be inside now when it’s so cold! 

Christmas seemed to come and go so quickly. Spring will really be here before we know it. We’re negotiating our lease for 3 more years in this location and, if all works out, have plans to make some changes in the next year. Adding some new things, taking out some others. We’ll keep you up-to-date as they happen. Thanks to each of you for coming in and helping to spread the word about our store! 

We sold out of our heated birdbaths and de-icers but will have them back in stock on Friday (unless weather interrupts the shipping!). 

It will soon be time time to start your seeds indoors. We’ll be getting our 2014 seed packets in from Botanical Interest in the next couple of weeks. If there are any seeds you would like us to get, please let me know by Friday so I can get it on the initial order form. Here’s a sampling of some of their new seeds this year: Okra ‘Red Burgundy’, Chile pepper Jalapeño ‘Jalasuego’ (very spicy & extra large – good for stuffing), ‘Chioggia’ Beets (candy-striped), Cucumbers ‘English Telegraph’ & ‘Persian Baby’, Melon ‘Papaya Dew’, Bean ‘Broad Fava’, Datura ‘Angel Buttons’, Penstemon ‘Dazzle’, Zinnias – ‘Northern Lights’ & ‘Solar’. We’ll also be getting some new seed starting supplies in this month. 

There are two special days coming up in January: 

January 21st is Squirrel Appreciation Day
: take 20% off any squirrel ‘lover’ product 

January 29th is National Puzzle Day
: get 25% off any puzzle – great way to pass the time during this cold weather! 

Watch for some dramatic savings as we move more items to clearance this month. 60% off all Christmas products through January 18th. 

We gave away two gift baskets in December. The winners were Dick Baker and Emily Strickland. Congratulations Dick and Emily. 

If you know of any plant sales or garden tours that are planned for this spring, send me the information, so we can share it. 

What’s New in the Store

 heated bird baths and de-icers; new bird houses by Jim Jackson, Cole’s Suet Nuts; Suet Balls and feeders 

Garden Art: 
Heart-shaped spinners; repurposed old windows with decorative garden themed sandblasted images 

 Long-handled bulb planter 

 Wild Republic pens (they really write – push the top and they sound like the bird they represent!) 

 new cards by Katherine Obarowski 

Classes & Events 

Just in time to chase away the winter doldrums and for Valentine’s – join us for our first ever silent auction! The auction will run from Friday, January 31st 10AM until Saturday, February 8th at 6PM. Proceeds above minimum bid will go to a local charity; details will follow on Facebook and in out next newsletter. Join us as we try something new!! 

Old Town Tucker Update/Happenings 

Who won the 2013 Downtown Tucker Holiday Decorating Contest sponsored by the Tucker Business Association, Main Street Tucker Alliance, and the Tucker Historical Society 

Restaurant category
: Los Hermanos with Matthews Cafeteria coming in 2nd place and Sweet Dee’s received an Honorable Mention. 

Office/services category
: Friends & Co won the top prize of $200 and Tucker Main Street Barber Shop was awarded $125 for second place; Main Street Cleaners won an Honorable Mention. 

Retail category: 
Tucker Flower Shop won 1st place, The Custom Frame Shop won 2nd and The Garden Enthusiast received an Honorable Mention. 

This was the second year for the contest. Decorated businesses within the downtown area, as defined by Brockett Road, LaVista Road, Lawrenceville Highway and Tucker Industrial Road, were included in the judging performed by members of the three sponsoring groups. 

Old Tucker Mill is extending their 30% store-wide sale through the end of January. Go check out their unique inventory before they close. 

 Sweet Dee's Bakeshop (770-696-4461) Valentine's Day is quickly approaching. Consider getting your sweetheart some chocolate covered strawberries, a heart-shaped brownie pop or his or her favorite personalized cake or cookies from Sweet Dee's Bakeshop. They'll think you've never been sweeter! Also, please note our new shop hours: Tuesday through Thursday: 8am - 6pm; Friday and Saturday: 8am - 8pm After-hour, custom order pickups are available. 

Old Tucker Fountain – many of you have asked about the Fountain. Well, here’s a response from Mike, the owner: “I had been planning a mild renovation for the past year and finally saw my window to do it. The three main things being done to the space were flooring, lighting, and pest control. These should be finished this week and limited business hours will resume. We will be serving a limited menu focused on the gourmet hotdogs and hamburgers.” More menu options are being considered for the spring. Hours for now will be Monday – Saturday from 11AM – 2PM. 

Coming in March
: In the space formerly known as Eric’s Fit Lab, we’ll have new neighbors. Watch for more information about this new upscale nail salon. 

Thursday February 6th Tucker Farmers Market 4 - 8 PM
 For February and March visit First Thursday Food Trucks in the courtyard, along with many of the other vendors of locally grown and prepared foods. The Market resumes weekly on April 3, 2014.

Saturday March
 15th – tentative date for 3rd Annual Tucker Chili Cook-off 

Community Events and Spirit 

Saturday, January 18th Third Annual Walk to Remember 9:30AM - Three years ago, the Mountain Mum’s Garden Club and several other sponsors in the community began the run to honor seven teenagers who were killed in car accidents. Their main goal is to bring awareness of the dangers of texting and cell phone use while driving and to keep our teenage drivers safe. The run will begin in the upper parking lot of the Smoke Rise Baptist Church. It’s a 4K walk that continues down the sidewalk towards Smoke Rise Elementary, down Lilburn-Stone Mountain and back to the church. You can register for the walk at The Garden Enthusiast or at Tucker House. Registration fee is $10. Children are free. 

Monday, January 20th Tucker Civic Association “Day of Service” 9AM - Noon TCA will be celebrating MLK Day with a "Day of Service" event at Tucker Nature Preserve. Volunteers will be removing invasive plants, raking leaves, mulching and sprucing up the trails. If you can, please bring rakes, loppers, and shovels. Snacks, coffee and water will be provided. If you haven't been to the Preserve lately, this is a great time to come check out all of the recent improvements, including the new group picnic area and a new trail extension courtesy of Boy Scout Troop 129. Please email [email protected] for more info. 

Other Backyard Nature Events 

Saturday, January 11th Georgia Iris Society meeting 2PM
 The meeting will be held at the Northlake-Barbara Loar Library. Meetings are free to the public. Call Kathy Blackwell for more info: 678-583-8603 

Saturday, January 11th Winter Tree Walk in Grant Park 1-3PM Brian Williams, Trees Atlanta Forest Restoration Coordinator, will be leading the walk through the Park beginning at the Atlanta Cyclorama and identifying key specimen along the way by identifiers still around during the colder temperatures. Attendees will learn tips & tricks on how to determine one tree versus another. For more information on the event and registration: 

Monday, January 27th DeKalb Master Gardener Association Speaker on Herbs 6PM - The meeting will be held at the Northlake/Barbara Loar Branch of the DeKalb Libraries. Their educational meetings are always free and open to the public, so bring a friend. Have you stopped learning yet? 

Saturday, April 26th DMGA Plant Sale 9AM – 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) 


This is the first of a two articles I’ll do on pruning shrubs this year. Why prune? Some reasons include to: 

1. Control the height and spread. 
2. Trim it and shape it to a desired form and ‘neaten’ the appearance. 
3. Remove dead or damaged limbs. 
4. Promote healthy growth. 
5. Rejuvenate an overgrown shrub. (You might even end up cutting some very large shrubs back to less than a foot!) Pruning stimulates a lot of new growth. 
6. Get better leaf color (Many plants with variegated or bright foliage provide their best showy foliage on ‘young’ growth.) 
7. Get more flowers and bigger blooms (such as with roses and butterfly bushes; for rebloooming shrubs like some of the azaleas) 

Having said that, you don’t need to prune a shrub if you’re happy with its size, shape and appearance. Know why you’re pruning before you start. Remember, shrubs do not necessarily require pruning to flower and perform well. 

When to prune? 

Timing is very important. If, for example, you prune an azalea during this winter, you’ll miss out on the spring flowering. 
Does the plant grow on ‘old’ or ‘new’ wood? 
On new wood, flower buds are created after growth in the spring and they bloom typically later in the season (roses, panicle hydrangeas). Shrubs that flower on old wood means the plant created the buds last year and they are carried through the winter typically blooming early (forsythia, weigela). After they bloom, they start the creative cycle over. There are exceptions and it’s best to check on a prized plant before you bloom so you don’t miss the flowers for this season. Typically, the early bloomers (old wood) should be pruned right after they bloom. If you wait too long after they have bloomed, you might interfere with the creation of their blooms for next year. And, you don’t want to prune too early or you’ll lose the flowers for this year. 
The shrubs that flower on new wood are pruned in early spring. Generally, I try to prune my roses in March as the buds start to show but before they leaf out too much. That way they are not expending energy on buds and leaves that I’ll be trimming back. Reblooming plants (like some azaleas) can bloom on both old and new wood. The best time to lightly prune them is after their first set of blooms (old wood). If you forget to prune, they’ll still bloom. 
Damaged or dead wood can be removed anytime. 
Some examples of shrubs that can be pruned during January and February include: boxwood, abelia, gardenias, osmanthus, Rose of Sharon, anise, holly, yew and ligustrum. Check out this publication from the University of Georgia Extension site for more information: 

Next month: How to Prune 

By all of your reports, the birding activity is up and there are great opportunities for photos whether at the feeder, on the ground, in a tree or at the birdbath. 
Check out these pictures shared by Ed Kuzela (All photos taken in his backyard in Tucker)

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon are getting ready for the 17th Great Backyard Bird Count (February 14-17th.) This is a really big deal and you can help!! Everyone is welcome--from beginning bird watchers to experts. And, it’s a great activity for kids! It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds. The idea is that if tens of thousands of folks from all over the world do this, the scientists can get a better idea of how the birds are doing. New participants must set up a free GBBC account to submit their checklists or use login information from an existing account for any other Cornell Lab citizen-science project. You’ll only need to do this once to participate in all future GBBC events. As the count progresses, anyone with Internet access can explore what is being reported. By doing this, we learn what kinds of birds are being seen in the winter and whether there are more or fewer of them than before. 

Bird of the Month: Yellow-rumped Warbler 

• The Yellow-rumped Warblers are considered a winter resident in Georgia. 
• They are fairly large and full-bodied with a large head, sturdy bill, and long, narrow tail. They have subdued colors in the winter of pale brown, with bright yellow rump and usually some yellow on the sides. Molting in spring brings a bright mix of vivid yellow, gray, black, and white. 
• Yellow-rumped Warblers like to forage around fruiting shrubs (bayberry, wax myrtle, juniper berries, poison ivy and oak, grapes, Virginia creeper and dogwood)) and conifers – they cling to the bark surface as they look for insects and will sometimes come to bird feeders. To attract them, try putting out sunflower seed, raisins, suet, and peanut butter. 
• The females take up to 10 days to build their nest. The nests are usually located in a horizontal branch of a conifer, are cup-shaped and made of twigs, pine needles, grasses, lichen and moss. 
• They have one to two broods per year. The clutch is made up 1-6 eggs which are white and speckled with brown, reddish-brown, gray, or purplish gray. Incubation time is 12-13 days and they fledge in 10-14 days. 
• The Yellow-rumped Warbler has a trill-like song and two main calls – a sharp chek and a soft psit. 
To hear the song visit

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).
Saturday, January 11th Hard Labor Creek State Park 2:00PM
 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 winter residents, including woodland birds, waterfowl, and raptors. 

Sunday, January 12th Noonday Creek 8:00AM Birding Focus: We'll be looking for winter residents in wetland and woodland habitats. 

*Saturday, January 18th Lullwater Park 8:30AM Birding Focus: Winter and year-round residents, including Red-headed Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Hooded Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe, Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler. 

Sunday, January 26th Panola Mountain 8:00AM Birding Focus: Winter residents of wetlands & forest, including warblers, sparrows, blackbirds, raptors, waterfowl, waders, and shorebirds. 

Sunday, January 26th Lake Acworth Beach and Cauble Park 8:00AM Birding Focus: Our birding focus will be waterfowl, herons and winter residents. The walkway is paved for ADA and stroller accessibility. All ages are welcome! 

Thursday, January 30th Murphey Candler Park 8:30AM Birding Focus: Three main habitats (lake, wetlands, mixed woods) provide good species diversity. We'll look for winter residents, including waterfowl, shorebirds, and passerines. The site is also reliable for turtles. This is a good site for beginners, but all are welcome. 

Saturday, February 1st Piedmont Park 8:00AM Birding Focus: Migratory, permanent & winter residents. All levels welcome. Excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain. 

Saturday, February 1st Morgan Falls Overlook Park 8:30AM Birding Focus: We will be looking for winter and permanent resident birds. The winter months offer opportunities to see open water duck species and eagles which can be sighted easily at this time. Binoculars will be available to borrow. This walk is free, but preregistration is required. To register, go to the Sandy Springs Recreation & Parks Department website. Or call 770-730-5600. 

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 [email protected] – we love to get your feedback! 

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