Fellow Backyard Nature Lovers,
Gardening Opportunities in the Garden for January Composting Great Backyard Bird Count Featured Feeder of the Month: Squirrel Buster Plus Bird of the Month: Eastern Screech Owl Audubon Field Trips
What’s on your wish list for this year? Maybe it’s to plant a new vegetable garden, go on a bird watching trip, spend more time with the kids outdoors or build a fairy garden with your grandchild. Have fun and hope you turn your wishes into realities.
In 2015 think about visiting one of our great parks and gardens in Tucker like the Tucker Nature Preserve (new picnic area), Kelley Cofer Park, Henderson Park (new native plant and wildlife walk), John’s Homestead Park (eligible for the National Historic Registry), the Tucker Butterfly Garden and Trees of Tucker.
Join us this month as we have our “Out with the Old in with the New Sale”. We’ll be moving more merchandise to clearance to make way for new spring merchandise. New items will go to clearance during the whole month of January.
It will soon be time to start your seeds indoors. We’ll be ordering our 2015 seed packets from Botanical Interest in the next couple of weeks. If there are any seeds you would like me to get, please let me know by January 9th so we can get them on the initial order form. Here’s a sampling of some of their new seeds this year: Carrot Red Cored Chantenay Heirloom Seeds, Carrot Atomic Red Seeds, Cucumber Poinsett 76 Seeds, Hummingbird Haven Seeds, Save the Bees Seeds, Sprouts Garbanzo Bean Organic Seeds , and Sprouts Lentil Organic Seeds.
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What's new in the store?
Birding: bird feeders
Garden Art: solar art
Children: books and bug viewers
Miscellaneous: jewelry from Ann O’Rourke, handmade soaps and candles from Jason Hutcheson
A Call to Bid
Can’t Wait, Can’t Wait for these very important dates!
February 7th- 21st, 2015 Second Annual The Garden Enthusiast – Backyard Nature Station Silent Auction
Just in time to chase away the winter doldrums and for Valentine’s – join us for our second annual silent auction benefitting the Tucker Butterfly Garden’s (TBG) native plant garden extension. TBG volunteers are actively working with us to make this a very special auction.
On February 7, we are delighted to have Atlanta artist, Cynthia Perryman of Cynthia Perryman Fine Art join us to demonstrate her painting techniques and skills. The painting she produces on the 7th will be featured in the silent auction. Cindy is well known in Atlanta’s art community. She was the long-time owner of the very popular Vista Gallery in Decatur which she sold a few years ago so she could concentrate on her landscape and still life paintings. She holds painting classes in her studio in Suwanee, GA and offers yearly “workshops abroad” to Burgundy and Provence, France. She’s fun, exciting and passionate about her love of painting and travels to France to teach, paint and search for antiques! Checkout her website: cynthiaperrymanart.com/
Stop by to watch her paint – en plein air, weather permitting – 10AM – noon and 1PM – 2 PM on Saturday, February 7. And, don’t forget to put a bid in for the painting! Wine will be provided each Saturday afternoon during the auction by Growler Time in Tucker. Some of the auction items besides the painting will include local photography, Cricket Forge Pedestal Birdbath, wall art, a Growler Time gift bag, fountains – and much more…
Old Town Tucker Update/Happenings
Matthews Cafeteria will be open for lunch from 10:30-3 on Sundays beginning January 18th.
Who won the 2014 Downtown Tucker Holiday Decorating Contest sponsored by the Tucker Business Association, Main Street Tucker Alliance, Tucker Historical Society, and the Tucker Civic Association?
Restaurant category: Las Colinas came in first place with Taqueria Los Hermanos in 2nd and Matthews received an Honorable Mention
Office/services category: Main Street Barber Shop won the top prize and Luxe Nail Bar was awarded second place; Main Street Cleaners won an Honorable Mention.
Retail category: CSR Computers won 1st place, Tucker Flower Shop won 2nd and E&B Jewelry Repair received an Honorable Mention
Awards for decorating were also given out by the Old Town Tucker Merchant’s Association (OTTMA). First place was Sweet Dee’s & Las Colinas came in second. Congratulations to all!
Old Tucker Fountain – The Fountain on Main Street in Tucker is excited about 2015. The new direction begun this year will be guided by an experienced new staff. Ms. Paris comes with almost a decade of experience at Shoney's restaurant, and will be handling the lunch 6 days a week. New menu items and breakfast served all day will be complemented by her great service.
Andy, the new food safety and catering manager is a certified restaurant manager, and has management experience with 5 Guys Burgers in Buckhead. We are thrilled to have him on the team.
The survey is complete and the most requested flavors of Mayfield ice cream will be delivered on the first. New flavors to be added include chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip, cookies and cream, and rainbow sherbet.
Saturday March 14th – 3rd Annual Tucker Chili Cook-off
Massage Therapy - Acupuncture - Foot Reflexology Yoga - Tai Chi - Qi Gong - Meditation and more... Monthly Self Care Workshops 5165 Lavista Rd., Tucker 770.493.8181, www.massageassociates.net
Eric’s Fit Lab has moved to 4985 Lavista Road.
Luxe Nail Salon Bar on Main Street will be closed on Mondays until further notice.
Saturday January 10th Recycling Extravaganza 9AM – Noon
Did you get some new electronics for Christmas? Recycle your old ones at Northlake Mall in the parking lot this Saturday. Proceeds benefit the Tucker Underpass Project which includes cleaning up and painting a mural on the old railroad underpass on Fellowship Road in Tucker. For more information call 404-371-2564.
Monday January 12th Mountain Shadow Garden Club presents “Garden Photography” 7:30PM
If you need a break from the winter blahs, plan to attend “Garden Photography” presented by Smoke Rise area resident Lyle Collins, President of Southern Trillium. Lyle has extensive experience in landscape design and installation. Photography has become an important tool in illustrating how various challenges in landscapes can be addressed, and in showing examples of “before and after” settings. His presentation will include tips regarding camera equipment, lighting, storing images, and more. MSGC is open to men and women of all ages who enjoy learning more about a range of garden topics. Refreshments and socializing follow. Eastminster Presbyterian Church is located at 5801 Hugh Howell Road, Stone Mountain. Free. For more information or for directions, call club president Jeff Raines at this number: 404-641-8633.
Saturday, January 17th Fourth Annual Walk to Remember 9:30AM
Four 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 goals are to promote safe driving, organ donation, and to support the Memorial Triangle. 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.
Monday, January 19th Tucker Civic Association “Day of Service” 9AM - Noon
TCA will be celebrating MLK Day with a "Day of Service" event at Idlewood Elementary School. Volunteers will be raking, mulching and other yard work as well as painting the sign and working on other paint projects. At the MLK Day of Service, they will also be collecting school supplies for the Tucker Mid-Year School Supply Drive. With hard economic times, teachers and school kids often run out of supplies by the middle of the school year. Supplies will be collected throughout January and donated to the Tucker Cluster Schools, including Tucker HS, Tucker MS, Midvale ES, Idlewood ES, Brockett ES, Livsey ES and Smokerise ES.
For a list of needed supplies and additional donation drop-off locations, please visit the Tucker Mid-Year School Supply Facebook Page.
Contact Jane Tanner at [email protected] for more info.
Other Backyard Nature Events
Kenneth Gohring, Azalea and Rhododendron Society, will present a program on “Native Plants”. 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.
Sunday January 11th The Incredible, Edible Yard: Creating Bird- and People-Friendly Spaces 5-6PM
Join environmental educator and fruit tree arborist Robby Astrove to learn more about edible landscaping and virtues of fruit trees for your home yard, school, or community park. We will present a spectrum of trees, shrubs, perennial herbs, and wildflowers that will attract appetites and wildlife to your space. We'll expand on fruit tree identification, favorites for the Atlanta area, best practices for orchards, and how edible landscaping contributes to healthy urban ecosystems.
Robby Astrove is an environmental educator and arborist with more than 12 years of experience with green space stewardship, native and edible plants, and community-based environmental education programs. A park ranger at Arabian Mountain Nature Preserve, Robby is also an active member of the Atlanta Local Food Initiative (ALFI) and coordinator of the ALFI Orchard Project. He has provided guidance and consultation for numerous farms, environmental organizations, and community gardens in their pursuit of growing sustainable, low maintenance fruit trees. 4055 Roswell Road Atlanta, GA 30342
Register now to secure a spot. Download a registration form and send the completed form with payment to the AAS office, attention Melanie Furr.
Cost: AAS Members $15, Nonmembers $18
Monday, February 2nd DeKalb Master Gardener Association: “Hydrangeas, Hibiscus, and Asters… Oh, my!” 6PM
Tim Martin, a former president of the Georgia Perennial Plant Association will be presenting. Tim's new company, Timothy Designs, focuses on herbaceous perennials, organic (and ornamental) vegetable gardens, and flowering shrubs and trees throughout the landscape.
When we think of a mixed garden border, the first thought that comes to mind is often the classic English design, bursting with tulips, delphiniums and roses. The second thought is often one of resignation, having convinced ourselves that living in the hot and humid south precludes us from having those sorts of gardens. It’s time to put an end to “Zone Envy” once and for all.
Grab your notepad and take advantage of the cold winter months to start making plans for your mixed garden border, Atlanta style! From initial design to planting and maintenance, we’ll explore those things that are unique to gardening in the South, and discuss lots of options that are applicable to gardens of all sizes and light conditions. This presentation promises lots of pretty pictures, and an equal amount of solid gardening information to apply to your own garden: manipulating the light to your advantage, choosing the best plants for your particular designs, handling rock solid Georgia clay, and developing your personal gardening calendar to make it all manageable.
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. www.DMGA.org
Saturday, February 14th Georgia Iris Society meeting 2PM
Mickey Gazaway from Pike’s Nursery will present a program on “How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard”. 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, April 18th 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)
Comments from those who have purchased Guide to Birds of North America:
Craig S - By the way, my grand-kids love your birding software. Every time they visit we have to spend time looking at the birds, listening to their sounds, and watching the short videos. The Pileated Woodpecker, Great Gray Owl and Ruffed Grouse are favorites. I was really surprised when my 3 year old grandson asked to see the Great Gray Owl and did a great sound imitation!
William K ( 9 years old) - Thank you for the Birds of North America software program. I was so excited we downloaded it the night I got it. I looked at pictures, watched videos, made lists and did quizzes until my parents made me go to bed. It is totally awesome!
Featured Bird Feeder of the Month : Squirrel Buster Plus
Now 15% Off throughout the month of January!!
• 3 quart bird seed capacity
You’ve probably noticed the squirrels have been acting more squirrely than usual as the cold weather approaches. They are darting out in front of cars, destroying feeders, and being all around crazy! Squirrel proof feeders are the easiest way to keep them out of your “bird” seed and the Squirrel Buster Plus is one of the best feeders guaranteed!!
We love the squirrel buster plus and so do our customers! It is our number one selling feeder at The Garden Enthusiast.
A true squirrel buster! When a squirrel tries to eat from the feeder its weight closes off the feeding ports to deny him to the food. You can also adjust the tension to make it sensitive enough to shut down on the large starlings or blackbirds.
It has a lock top you push down and turn to fill. The tube will hold a lot of seed and is long enough so that the squirrels can’t hang upside down to reach the feeding ports. The Squirrel Buster Plus also has a cardinal ring so cardinals can sit and eat comfortably or if you just want smaller birds, the ring can be removed
How to Attract More Birds to your Garden
Try some of the following tips:
• Build a brush pile to provide shelter from the elements and predators for birds and other wildlife. Pick out a location that won’t be a distraction for you or your neighbors. Unless you have a lot of property you might want to limit the size of the pile to 5 or 6 feet. If you can locate it in the sun it will also provide extra warmth for the birds and animals. The pile should be dense enough to provide shelter but with enough openings that allow easy movement. Make the first two layers from logs or thick branches about 6” in diameter. Start with the bottom layer parallel to each other and about 10” apart. Run the next layer perpendicular to the first layer Use rot-resistant wood such as cedar, oak or other hardwoods for a longer lasting brush pile. Now pile smaller branches and twigs on the structure with more density toward the middle. Don’t add leaves or grass clippings or other debris that will clog up the access.
• Hang your feeders 10’ from dense bushes and evergreens. This allows the birds a place to escape to but far enough away in case a neighborhood cat is waiting to spring. If it’s sheltered from the wind that is even better.
• Suet is rich in calories and provides extra energy for birds like the woodpeckers, nuthatches, titmice, brown creepers, bluebirds, and chickadees.
• Clean your feeders regularly to reduce the spread of avian diseases.
• Keep seed in the feeders!
• Put roosting boxes out to provide additional shelter for the birds.
• If squirrels have taken over your feeders, make sure they are at least 10’ from any nearby jumping point. Try using a baffle below or above the feeder according to how they are jumping on it. You can also try suspending a feeder from a cable that stretches across an open space. Or try a squirrel resistant feeder such as the Squirrel Buster Plus highlighted in this newsletter.
• Make sure you keep fresh water available. Use a de-icer or heated birdbath to keep the water from freezing.
Here are a couple of things to do with the kids so they can feel like they helped to attract the birds, too!
Make a milk carton birdfeeder using a half gallon milk or juice carton. Rinse out the carton and let it dry. Cut openings at the bottom to insert two dowels or sticks through for the birds to perch. Cut four openings at the bottom over the dowels/sticks. Hole-punch a space at the top to insert twine or fishing line to use as the hanger. Fill the feeder with seed using the spout of the carton. Replace the top on the spout.
Make a pine cone birdfeeder by tying a wire, string or fishing line to the top of the pinecone. Melt beef tallow (from your butcher). As it starts to cool and gets thicker, using the string, roll the pine cone in it and then coat with bird seed. Cool on wax paper. If you can’t find the beef tallow, use peanut butter instead.
Hang these feeders in spots so the kids (and you!) can easily view the array of winter birds that come to them and the kids can learn to identify each of the birds. They could even start a journal to keep up with which birds they see in which months.
Next month – more ways to attract birds to your garden
Bird of the Month: Eastern Screech Owl
• The Eastern Screech Owls are year-round residents in Georgia.
• They are about 9” tall with up to a 20” wingspan. They are the only small owl in Georgia with ear tufts. There are two color variations known as morphs – a mottled gray (more common) and rust colored with white. They have a large head, yellow eyes, and a short, rounded tail.
• Eastern Screech Owls hunt during the night-time hours. Their varied prey consists of songbirds (such as chickadees, finches, and warblers), small rodents and mammals, lizards, snakes, frogs, spiders, worms, small fish, and large insects. They have very acute hearing which helps them find their prey. They regurgitate the feathers, fur and bones of their prey. You may find oval pellets made up of this matter underneath their roosts.
• They do not build nests but take over cavities made by woodpeckers or squirrels. They will use a nesting box. (Now is a good time to put up an owl house before their breeding season begins.) They often reuse the same site from one year to the next.
• They have one brood per year. The clutch is made up of 2-6 white eggs. Incubation time is 27-34 days and they fledge in 26-30 days.
• Mortality rates of the young or nestling owls can reach 70%. Their primary predators are weasels, snakes, raccoons, skunks, crows, and blue jays. Hawks and larger owls are predators of the adult Eastern Screech Owl.
• You may hear them often at night trilling or whinnying. You may also hear them bark, hoot, chuckle and screech.
Check out the upcoming field trips from the Atlanta Audubon Society (get in touch with them for more information at (678-973-2437). One this month is close by (*).
Friday January 9th Panola Mountain 10AM
Birding Focus: Winter residents of wetlands & forest, including sparrows, blackbirds, raptors, waterfowl, waders, and shorebirds.
Sunday January 11th Noonday Creek 8AM
Birding Focus: We will work along the 'sparrow field' in hopes of finding Marsh Wren, Sedge Wren, Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, and other grass/weed-loving birds. Next it's on to the large, grassy 'water control bowl' and its dense riparian corridor for Song and Field Sparrow, House Wren, Palm Warbler, 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 both kinglets, Blue-headed Vireo, Hermit Thrush, Winter Wren, and more. Any level of skill is welcome.
Wednesday January 14th Reynolds Nature Preserve 8AM
Birding Focus: We will look for winter woodland birds such as woodpeckers, including Pileated Woodpeckers, and Barred Owls. The trail passes through mature deciduous forest and along several ponds.
Saturday January 17th Hard Labor Creek State Park 3PM
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 winter residents, including woodland birds, waterfowl, and raptors.
Wednesday January 21st Murphey Candler Park 8:30AM
Birding Focus: Three main habitats (lake, wetlands, mixed woods) provide good species diversity. We'll look for winter visitors and residents, including waterfowl, shorebirds, and passerines. The site is also reliable for turtles. 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.
Saturday January 24th Newman Wetlands Center and Huie Ponds of the CCWA 8AM
Birding Focus: Resident and wintering 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 January 31st Woodlands Garden and Decatur Cemetery 8AM
Birding Focus: Woodlands Garden is a 7.1 acre privately owned, non-profit preserve near downtown Decatur, comprising mature deciduous and pine forest, plants and shrubs, with streamside and upland habitat that is being actively managed to protect and promote native plant species. In addition to the usual urban forest species, we'll see some winter residents. Sixty-five species have been recorded there in the past couple of years. New birders are welcome. No dogs are allowed. For those interested, we will then move by car to nearby Decatur Cemetery, Metro Atlanta's oldest cemetery comprising 58 acres with mature trees, wooded edges, and water features. This is a great site for Eastern bluebirds and Red-headed woodpeckers.
Saturday February 7th Piedmont Park 8AM
Birding Focus: We'll be looking for wintering birds and permanent residents. All levels welcome. Excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain.
We wish each of you a very happy new year filled with joy, peace and prosperity! Hope to see you soon
Linda, Brittany, Jeremy & Jessica
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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