The Garden Enthusiast- Backyard Nature Station Update March 2014 

Table of Contents
From our Customers 
What's New in the Store? 
Classes & Events 
  Come in to Win a Feeder Contest 
  Old Town Tucker Update/Happenings 
   Community Events and Spirit 
   Other Backyard Nature Events
  Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Certification 
  9th Annual Youth Birding Competition 
  Bird of the Month: Red-shouldered Hawk 
  Audubon Field Trips 

Fellow Backyard Nature Lovers, 

“I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring. Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature's rebirth?” ~Edward Giobbi 

Daylights savings time starts on Sunday, March 9th. Move your clocks forward and enjoy all the glories of nature that March will bring. Fill in your calendar with the plant sales, tours and other events coming up . There are activities for everyone, many are free and there are volunteer opportunities too! 

Thank you to everyone who participated in our silent auction last month. It was a fun event with lots of late bidding going on to spice things up a little. The following is a note from Jill Jane Clements, co-leader of the garden. 

The Tucker Butterfly Garden received over three hundred and fifty dollars from the silent auction conducted by The Garden Enthusiast. These funds will be put to good use in purchasing plant material, wood chips and mulch for the upcoming season as well as contributing to our funds for acquiring a water source closer to the garden's location. Many thanks to Linda Karr, The Garden Enthusiast and all of you who participated in the auction! Happy Spring! 
Thanks again! 
Jill Jane
March 15 has been proclaimed by Governor Nathan Deal as Master Gardener Day in Georgia. Thank you to all the Master Gardeners who volunteer their time and expertise! Feeling the luck of the Irish? Like us on Facebook from now until March 31st and your name will be entered in our pot of gold for a $50 gift certificate from The Garden Enthusiast – Backyard Nature Station. 
Join us during the 3rd Annual Chili Cook-off on March 15th and look for the red hot chili sale items. Good only during the event. 


Great E-mails - a lot of info. Please keep them coming! Robert B 

-Loved your store, so happy we stopped by. Monica V 

-Nice newsletter again Linda! Mike D

 From Stan L: this bird gets its food from "The Garden Enthusiast" on Main Street in Tucker! I have always understood that parrots, crows, and ravens, especially, are very, very smart. 


Birding: bird feeders, hummingbird feeders, bluebird houses, mealworm feeders, window feeders 

Garden Art:
 Hand-carved pine knot Tree faces from SC artist – all are dated and numbered; plant stakes, Butterfly & Dragonfly wall art, giant flower stakes, solar products, miniatures, birdbaths, rain gauges, flag brackets, flags, Matmates and MailWraps; new Kitras balls. 

Grow a Garden Matching Game 


Come in to Win a Free Feeder Contest continues until March 29th. 
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 and spend $25 or more 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.


Thursday March 6th Tucker Farmer's Market 4 - 8 PM 
For March visit First Thursday Food Trucks in the courtyard, along with many of the vendors of locally grown and prepared foods. The Market resumes weekly on April 3, 2014.
Saturday March 15th 2014 Chili Cook-off on Main Street 1 - 5PM 
Have you made your plans yet to come on down to Main Street for the 3rd Annual Tucker Chili Cook-off sponsored by the Old Town Tucker Merchant's Association? For $5 you get to taste all of the chili prepared by the contestants. And, of course, the stores and restaurants will be open! The Masonic Lodge will be providing lots of children’s activities in Freemason Square. For more information on becoming a chili cook-off contestant, visit 

Deadline March 26th 
Tucker Masonic Lodge #42 is having their famous Spring BBQ. Now is the time to pre-order your 10-12 lb Smoked Boston Butt for $30. That’s enough for inviting a few friends or family over to share – or you could just freeze some for later! Call Dennis (404-787-7887) or Chris (770-906-8484) to order now. 


The Tucker High School Girls’ basketball team has made it to the State Finals for the first time in the history of the school! They will be playing SW DeKalb at the Macon Centreplex this Friday, March 7th at 7 pm for the STATE TITLE. Go Lady Tigers! 

Saturday May 10th Tucker Day Saturday May 17th Tucker Historical Society Garden Tour 9AM - 5PM 
This is the twelfth year for this garden tour! There are five private gardens on the tour as well as the Master Gardener’s Butterfly Garden. Tickets will be available at The Garden Enthusiast and other locations closer to the date of the tour. 


Saturday March 8th Georgia Iris Society Meeting 2PM 
Joyce M. Cotter will speak on 'Basic Herb Growing and Cooking'. The meeting will be held at the Northlake Barbara Loar Library. It is free to the public and all are welcome. Join them for education, recreation and beautification. For more information, call Kathy Blackwell at 678-583-8603. 

Tuesday March 11th Phoenix Flies Tree Walk in partnership with the Atlanta Preservation Center 10AM – 12PM Historical Tree Walk of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum with Jennifer McConnell, Arboretum Docent. Registration and more information found here

Wednesday March 19th Magnolia Study Day 3PM - 5PM
: Magnolia Tree Walk in the Arboretum with Greg Levine, Trees Atlanta Co-Executive Director. 6PM: 'Magnolias for the Urban Landscape' with Greg Paige, Curator of Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory in Charlotte, NC Magnolia Speakers at the Kendeda Center with Greg Paige, Curator of Bartlett & Andrew Bunting. 7PM: 'Magnolias for the Home Garden' with Andrew Bunting, Curator of the Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College & President of the International Magnolia Society. Registration and more information found here

Thursday March 20th Historical Tree Walk of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum 1PM – 3PM 
Walk led by Greg Levine, Trees Atlanta Co-Executive Director and tree enthusiast. Registration and more information found here. 

Saturday March 22nd Geoscience from Georgia State at Stone Mountain Park 10AM – 3PM
Georgia State University geoscientists offer guided hikes, geocaching hunts, and visitor center info sessions on the natural history of our quartz dome. 

Saturday March 22nd Drop-in Family Program: Frogs, Frogs, Frogs! 1PM – 2PM Say hello to the frogs at the Atlanta Botanical Garden! Get up close and personal with several frogs, hear their fascinating stories, and create frog inspired art in this family program. Meet in Mershon Hall Children’s Classroom ($6/child + Garden admission; $5/child for members) 

Saturday March 22nd Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College Spring Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM
Cash or check only. 

Sunday March 23rd Save the Trees 2PM – 4PM 
A collaborative team of arborist Greg Levine, landscape architect and ecologist Alfie Vick, and nature photographer Kathryn Kolb will lead visitors through a tree tour of Agnes Scott College. With a large collection of native and exotic trees on the tour, you will learn about trees that you pass everyday or have yet to discover. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on the complex connections between trees and humans and the integral role that trees play in our lives. The tour will be about 2 hours in length. 

Monday March 24th Dekalb Master Gardner Association 6PM
Join us to hear Erica Glasener, Horticulturist and TV Personality, talk about how to make your garden appealing year around, using examples of gardens from across the country and focusing on plant combinations for our region. Finally, you can learn from a Pro how to make your garden a year-round attraction! Erica has hosted "A Gardener's Diary" on Home and Garden Television (HGTV) for fourteen years. In her role as host, she interviews gardeners from all walks of life across the United States. Her curiosity about the impulse that drives people to garden, as well as her enthusiasm about plants, makes her a natural at facilitating the stories gardeners want to tell. The meeting will be held at the Northlake/Barbara Loar Branch of the Dekalb Libraries. These educational meetings are always free and open to the 

Tuesday March 25th Starry, Starry Night 8PM – 10PM
 Agnes Scott College professors and students will be your guides to the night as they assist you in viewing celestial objects through a variety of telescopes at the Bradley Observatory. While you enjoy spectacular views, you will also learn more about how telescopes work and interesting astronomical facts. Want to know the phase of the moon on the day you were born, or the astrological sign you were actually born under (it might not be what you think!)? We can help you find out the answers. 

Friday March 28th Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College

A Walk in the Garden with David Funderburk at 10:30AM followed by presentation at 12N by David on "Non-native Invasive Plants in Georgia". Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. If desired, bring a lunch. 

Friday March 28th Fernbank Forest Night Walk 7:30PM – 9:30PM

Come experience the unique nocturnal world of Fernbank Forest that awakens at dark. Fernbank Museum science educators will be your guides as you listen for owl and frog calls, search for bats, find organisms that glow, and much more. This program is most suitable for ages 8 and up. 

Saturday March 29th Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College Spring
 Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. Cash or check only. 

Saturday March 29th Drop-in Family Program: Frogs, Frogs, Frogs! 1PM – 2PM Say hello to the frogs at the Atlanta Botanical Garden! Get up close and personal with several frogs, hear their fascinating stories, and create frog inspired art in this family program. Meet in Mershon Hall Children’s Classroom ($6/child + Garden admission; $5/child for members) 

Saturday March 29th Brockett Elementary School grounds clean-up 9AM – 12N 
1855 Brockett Road, Tucker 

Sunday March 30th Johns Homestead Park Orchard work-day 2PM – 5PM
1582 Edinburgh Drive, Tucker Please bring pitchforks, shovels, work gloves, etc. 

Now - June 15th Gibbs Gardens Daffodil Festival 
They will be open six days a week during this time. They have more than 50 acres, 16 - 20 million daffodil blossoms and 60 varieties. 1987 Gibbs Dr, Ball Ground, GA 30107 

Friday April 4th Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College  
A Walk in the Garden looking at native azaleas with Ernest Koone at 10:30AM followed by presentation at 12N by Ernest on “Native Azaleas”. Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. If desired, bring a lunch.

 Saturday April 5th Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College Spring Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. Cash or check only. 

Saturday April 5th Azalea Chapter Plant Sale 8AM - 4PM 
The sale will be held at the Oak Grove United Methodist Church, 1722 Oak Grove Road, Decatur. There will be over 1,000 plants to select from including Deciduous Native Azaleas, Evergreen Azaleas, Mt. Laurel, Rhododendrons, and companion plants. Join the Azalea Chapter on the 5th and receive a 25% discount on your purchase. 

Saturday, April 5th, Henderson Estates Garden Club Annual Plant and Craft Sale 9AM – 1PM 
Northeast Baptist Church, 4046 Chamblee Tucker Road in the front parking lot 
Large assortment of plants, crafts, jewelry, and baked goods. This is their major fund raiser with funds used to help support their 10 projects including Tucker Butterfly Garden, Soldier’s Angels, Ronald McDonald House and Operation Christmas Child.

 Friday April 11th Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College
A Walk in the Garden with Tom Patrick and John Little looking for trilliums at 10:30AM followed by presentation at 12N by Tom on “Trilliums". Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. If desired, bring a lunch. 

Saturday April 12th Georgia Native Plant Society Spring Plant Sale 10AM - 2PM This annual plant sale will again be held at McFarlane Nature Park in Marietta. A great time to get plants for your garden that are native to our area. 

Saturday April 12th Georgia Iris Society Meeting 2PM 
Please join us as we prepare for our annual Iris Show. Ken Duke, G.I.S. member, Master Iris Judge and landscaper and owner, Proterra Iris Gardens will present how to display blooms and tips for preparing floral designs. All are welcome to join us for education, recreation, beautification and fellowship. Meeting will be at Northlake Barbara Loar Library. For more information contact Kathy Blackwell at 678 583 8603. 

April 18th Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College 
A Walk in the Garden with George Sanko looking for easy to grow ferns at 10:30AM followed by presentation at 12N by George on “The Flora of Natural Bridge & Red River Gorge". Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. If desired, bring a lunch. 

Saturday April 19th Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College Spring Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. Cash or check only. 

Saturday April 19th Piedmont Gardener’s Tour of Athens Gardens 10AM – 4PM         

Want to take a day trip to enjoy some diverse gardens in Athens? There are five gardens on this tour. Tickets are $15 prior to the tour date and $20 the day of the tour. For more information, go to 

April 25 Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College 
A Walk in the Garden with Karen Lindauer looking at woodland gardens at 10:30AM followed by presentation at 12N by Eddi Minche on “Pollinators for the Garden" . Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. If desired, bring a lunch.

 April 25th - 27th Southeastern Flower Show 10AM – 6PM 
Returning to our roots, we are bringing the Southeastern Flower Show back into the community at the Buckhead Theater in Atlanta. The 2014 show will take place in an abbreviated show style and will set the stage for the 2015 Southeastern Flower Show and future shows to come. In spirit of continuous improvement, we are building upon the lessons learned from prior shows. We invite you to bring the whole family out to this historical Atlanta landmark and come enjoy the spring weather in the park, listen to some renowned plant speakers and accomplished chefs or take a stroll through the marketplace and see unique offerings from our vendors. For more information go to 

Saturday April 26th The Tucker Nature Preserve's Earth-Day cleanup 9AM – 12N 4408 Lawrenceville Hwy.

 Saturday April 26th Dekalb Master Gardener's (DMGA) Annual Plant Sale 9AM - 1PM 
The sale will again be held at the Oak Grove UMC parking lot: corner of Oak Grove & Fairoaks (1722 Oak Grove Rd, Decatur). 

Saturday May 3rd ‘Theatrical Iris” – A Standard Flower Show 11AM – 4PM Presented by The Georgia Iris Society (Member of the Dekalb Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. in cooperation with The American Iris Society) this show will be held at St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church. Judging will be from 9:30-10:30AM. Free entry and admission. For more information call Kathy Blackwell at 678 583 8603 or Diana Wright at 770 621 3864.

 Sunday May 4th Annual Georgia Iris Society Iris Sale 1PM – 5PM (or until sold out) 
This sale will be held at the BOLTON GARDEN at 1916 Idlewood Road Tucker GA 30084. For more information contact Kathy Blackwell at 678 583 8603. 

Saturday May 10th Georgia Hosta Society 2014 Cut Leaf Show and Plant sale:
"A Sterling Event - Our Silver Anniversary Show" 9AM – 3:30PM This annual event will be held at the Wesley Center of the Tucker United Methodist Church. The plant sale opens at 9AM and the show at 10AM. 


Do you have a bird friendly habitat? Do you provide food sources, nesting sites, bird feeders, shelter, and water sources? Would you like your garden to be certified as a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary by the Atlanta Audubon Society? Come in and chat with us about this and start the process by picking up the brochure/application form. 

We’ve had some wonderful spring-like days to work in the garden that could help us believe spring is near and the cold winter weather is behind us. As we’ve been out cleaning and preparing our garden for spring we’ve seen the damage brought about from the cold temperatures, snow and ice. We’re not use to dealing with this kind of weather and perhaps take for granted that our plants will survive. What lessons have we learned? What do we do to help our garden recover?
 Lessons learned (or good to know to plan for the future): 

1. Choose the right plant for where you’re planting. It should be cold hardy for our area – Zone 7b (

2. Make sure the plant is suited for the area of the garden you are planting it in. Don’t put it in a windy corridor if it may be susceptible to wind damage. Does the plant like soil with good drainage? It doesn’t belong in an area where the soil stays wet. 

3. Native plants (those that occur naturally and are adapted to our area climate) are a good bet. Peruse the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension for more information:

4. Healthy plants can survive adverse conditions much better than those plants that are struggling to survive. 

5. Just in case we have another freezing event, cover your non-dormant plants with old sheets. Take the sheets off as soon as the temperature rises – they can’t be left on for long. Leave dormant plants alone. 

What to do now?
1. If you have annuals that have turned brown, replace them in the next month or so. 

2. For perennials, remove any brown or spongy foliage. And wait – they may recover. Watch for new growth. 

3. With shrubs also play wait and see. Watch for the new growth and then trim out the foliage/limbs that have been lost. 

I was out trimming roses this past weekend. Although I had to severely cut back canes that were dead on many of them, I did see new growth at the base of some of these. I’ll have to wait awhile longer to see if they all made it. 

As you’re thinking about your garden and what you want to plant this year, consider a water-wise garden. Around the country gardeners want an environmentally sound landscape that conserves water and reduces maintenance yet produces a beautiful yard and garden with year-round appeal. The annual and perennial flowers in Botanical Interests' custom mix have been selected for their drought tolerance and adaptability. Water is needed to establish plants and then only during extended dry periods. In just a couple of months, your garden will come alive with a succession of colorful blooms that open from spring through fall. The packet inside, as with all of Botanical Interests' packets, gives sowing hints to help you produce a wonderful stand of drought tolerant flowers! Covers 250 square feet. 


 Did you see the flock of Sandhill Cranes as they came through about a week ago? My husband, John, said they came in low in waves probably over a 15 minute period of time as if they were waiting for each other. They circled, gaining altitude, until the group joined and they headed north. 

Last weekend we had a large flock of Cedar Waxwings at our birdbath. As one group flew down, another hovered til they could replace them to get their share. And, it continued for awhile. It was fun watching the little ‘masked bandits’! 

Bluebirds - they are the topic of the moment! Houses, mealworms, Suet Kibbles, Bluebird Nuggets and suet have been big sellers. Many of you have been watching closely to see if they’re going to pick one of your houses to nest in this year –or if a wren is going to beat them to it. It seems like there maybe a little competition between neighbor’s birdhouses, too. 

It is – or soon will be - nest building time for many birds. Get your boxes ready and nesting materials out to help them along and maybe further entice them to your garden. 

April 25th - 26th is the 9th Annual Youth Birding Competition which is a 24 hour birding event. Youth teams compete against other teams their own age to find as many species as they can. A wildlife show and awards banquet follows the competition. Anyone from K - 12th grade can participate. If you don’t have a team, you’ll be paired up with one. You don’t need to be an expert. Join in the fun and raise money for conservation causes and compete for prizes. Registration ends March 31st. Participation is free and all that enter get a t-shirt. This event is primarily sponsored by The Environmental Resources Network Inc.. To register, copy, fill in and return this brochure's registration panel to Tim Keyes, download the YBC participation booklet, or contact [email protected] Many of you have been watching the live-streaming video Bald Eagle nest site at Berry College but if you’ve missed it, catch the activity at 

Bird of the Month: Red-shouldered Hawk   

• Red-shouldered Hawks are permanent residents in Georgia. They prefer deciduous forests with an open sub canopy near water. 
• They have brownish heads, reddish chests, and pale bellies with reddish bars. Their long black tails are marked with narrow white bars. Red "shoulders" are visible when the birds are perched. These hawks' upper parts are dark with pale spots and they have long yellow legs. They are medium-sized with broad, rounded dark-and-white checkered wings. The wingspan can range from 35 -50”. 
• Red-shouldered Hawks primarily eat small mammals such as voles, mice, moles, and chipmunks. They also may be seen directly dropping down on rabbits, squirrels, snakes, small birds, and large insects. They do attack birds as large as pigeons and Blue Jays. You’ll find them perched in a tree or soaring over ahead in search of their prey. They may store food near their nest. 
• As with most raptors, they are monogamous and territorial. During courtship they soar and dive toward each other. Their mating season is between April and July. Their nest is made of sticks with maybe some bark and leaves mixed in and is found in the fork of a large tree. They may continue to use the same nest every year replenishing the sticks as necessary.
 • The Red-shouldered Hawk clutch size is 3-4 eggs. Incubation period is 28-33 days and the nesting period is about 6 weeks. The first chick may hatch up to a week before the last one hatch. The eggs are brown to lavender and blotchy in color.
 • The oldest recorded Red-shouldered Hawk was almost 20 years old. However, only about half survive their first year. 

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). A several this month (*) that are close by. 

 Saturday March 8th Noonday Creek Trail 8AM 
Birding FocusWe'll be looking for winter residents in wetland and woodland habitats. Any level of skill is welcome; the walk will be 3+ miles along a paved route of easy terrain. 

Wednesday March 12th Cochran Shoals 8AM 
Birding Focus: We'll be looking for permanent residents and spring migrants, including waterfowl, raptors, sparrows, woodpeckers, and warblers. Duration of walk 3-4 hours, but you may leave early at any time. 

Saturday March 15th Panola Mountain 1PM 
Birding Focus: Residents and early migrants of wetlands & forest, including warblers, sparrows, blackbirds, raptors, waterfowl, waders, and shorebirds. 

*Thursday, March 20th Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve 8AM 
Birding Focus: Permanent residents of wetlands & woodlands, plus possible early spring migrants. Duration of walk 2-3 hours, but you may leave early at any time. 

*Saturday March 22nd 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. This event is free and open to the public (does not include museum admission). 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. 

Sunday March 23rd Atlanta Beltline 8AM 
Birding Focus: We will walk the Beltline north of Piedmont Park. We will be looking for urban residents and migrants; we hope to get some good close-up views. Habitat includes Clear Creek, a golf course, and edges. This is a family-friendly walk, but is not appropriate for children in strollers. No dogs. 

Wednesday March 23rd Murphey Candler Park 8AM
Birding Focus: Three main habitats (lake, wetlands, mixed woods) provide good species diversity. We'll look for residents and spring migrants, including waterfowl, shorebirds, and passerines. The site is also reliable for turtles. This is a good site for beginners, but all are welcome. 

Saturday March 29th George Pierce Park 9AM 
Birding Focus: This park is one of the best places in Gwinnett County to bird at any time of year. We will look for remaining winter visitors, early migrants, and permanent residents: ducks, herons, woodpeckers, kinglets, thrushes, warblers, and sparrows. All levels welcome. 

Saturday April 5th Piedmont Park 8AM

 Birding Focus: Migratory, permanent & winter residents. All levels welcome. Excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain.

Hope to see you soon,

Linda, Brittany, Jeremy, Jessica, & 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!

Like us on Facebook!