The Garden Enthusiast- Backyard Nature Station Update May 2014 

Table of Contents 
    3rd Anniversary 
   Children’s Garden 
   Mother’s Day 
From our Customers 
What's New in the Store?
Classes & Events 
   Bird Feeder Cleaning Day 
   Tucker Day Events at Store 
Old Town Tucker Update/Happenings 
    Community Events and Spirit 
    Other Backyard Nature Events 
    Master Naturalist Class 
    May to Do List 
    Plant Pollinators 
   Bird of the Month: Blue Gary Gnatcatcher 
   Audubon Field Trips

Fellow Backyard Nature Lovers, 

It’s our 3rd anniversary! We look forward to sharing the future with you. 

We have some sales going on now through May 7th. On Saturday, May 3rd we will have snacks and drinks available all day. Don’t forget this is bird feeder cleaner day, too. Bring them in on Saturday and pick them up all nice and clean on Monday. 

We received our glass merchandiser – so the mealworms and suet are in their new place – check it out. 

We’ve added a new desk area and will soon have a computer there so that you may browse and order directly from our website. We will continue to work on the website and have more items available to you that are not in the store. 

Update on the Children’s Garden: Many thanks go to Scott T and Steve K for their support of this project. Our own local artist, Jim Jackson, has made a beautiful birdhouse to put in the garden. We are currently working on getting the fence put up. And, even if it’s not weed free yet, a lot of progress has been made!

 Mother’s Day will soon be here. We’ll have our annual drawing for a gift basket. Come in between now and May 10th to put your name in. 

We have Mother’s Day and Teacher’s gifts available throughout the store. It’s hard to believe that school will soon be out. 

Our butterfly bench was recently filmed in the movie called “Term Life”. Watch for it to come out in the coming months and see if she has her film debut. The movie stars Vince Vaughn as a criminal who takes out an insurance policy on himself to benefit his estranged daughter. 

We will be closed Monday, May26th for Memorial Day. 


"The information about cucumbers in your most recent newsletter caught my attention. At the store, are y'all selling seeds or actual seedlings? Thanks for your response." Mary L
 Hi Mary, We just sell the seeds. We have vegetable, flower and herb seeds from Botanical Interests. Thanks for reading the newsletter!

 "I published your info. I am the moderator of a yahoo group." Jackie P 

"I love this newsletter!! Great job! How do I get our organization's programs (The DeKalb Federation of Garden Clubs) on your mailing list? These are just the folks we need to reach." Diana H 

 Bluebird stopping by for a snack! Photo creds to Ed Kuzela

 I wanted to share with you news of the release of what looks like a wonderful book -- and one that may be of interest to your newsletter readers. The title is "Hiking Atlanta's Hidden Forests: Intown and Out." Website: 
From the website: This guidebook can help you integrate hiking into your everyday life. The trails contained in this book are nestled in neighborhoods but have the feel of remote wilderness. If you want to walk your dog after work or are in search of a Sunday afternoon excursion for your family, there's a trail close to home to explore. And if you want a full day of hiking that avoids a half-day in the car, Atlanta's hidden forests are a perfect place to go. The book is just being released in April. The website also allows a view of a sample chapter, which is what really sold me! Take a look if you have a minute or two! Kate H 

"Thanks much for including the items about the Mountain Shadow Garden Club April 14 meeting and April 26 plant sale in your April issue.
You have an amazing amount of good content in that newsletter." Don A 


Birding: window houses, bird feeders, bird baths, bat houses, hummingbird nectar 

Garden Art: Dancing Owls Whirligig, mobiles, mini solar garden critter pot stickers, firefly lantern, solar Toadstool & Mushroom Homes, and garden art poles

Tool shed:
 Loppers, Needlepoint Pruners, plant caddie’s, rose gloves, Hori-Hori Digging Knife

 Ladybug umbrella, Ladybug garden tote set, Kid’s Metal Wheelbarrow, Bird Feeder with Field Guide, Busy Bug & Busy Butterfly Garden Seeds 

 Mini Cross Body Bags, Tea Totes (great Mother’s Day or Teacher’s gift), Birds of Southeast Quick Guide 


Saturday May 3rd Bird Feeder Cleaning Day
 (part of our anniversary celebration) Bring in your feeders on this day and we’ll clean them for you. Each customer can bring in up to 3 feeders. Drop off day will be Saturday and clean feeders will be ready to pick up on Monday, May 5th. 

Saturday May 10th 9AM – 5PM 
We’ll have the representative from Horizons at our booth in front of our store for Tucker Day. He’ll be selling and demonstrating a great line of clippers, loppers, etc. Also, Annie O’Rourke, our local artist, will be in the store with some of her new jewelry – just in time for Mother’s Day. 


Kelly and Jason from The Custom Frame Shop are planning their big move off of Main Street soon. Their new location will be next to Eric's Fit Lab over on First Avenue. The new address is 4195 Fellowship Road (private parking lot is on First Ave) They hope to have the new shop up and running by early July. Business will continue at the Main Street location until then. 

 Sweet Dee’s Bakeshop just celebrated their second anniversary. Check out their latest menu additions and their new coffee – Dancing Goats! Want to order a treat for Mother’s Day or cupcakes or cookies for the kid’s end of the school year parties? Call 770-696-4461 to preorder. 

Saturday May 10th Tucker Cruise-In 5PM – 8:30PM
 The Tucker Cruise-in is an old fashioned town meet and greet of the car community on Main Street. For more information, call 770-527-1521. 

Thursdays in May Tucker Farmer's Market 4 - 8 PM 


Christine and Doug Davis’ Garden at 4750 Westhampton Drive in Tucker is now open to visitors. If you want an initial appreciation of this wonderful local treasure go to 

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!

 Saturday May 3rd Great American Cleanup 9AM – 12N 
Please join Tucker Civic Association and Friends of Tucker Nature Preserve for their fourth annual "Great American Cleanup" event to be held at the Tucker Nature Preserve. Volunteers will be removing invasive plants, performing maintenance on the new walking trails, and mulching the newly-planted native trees and shrubs. Bring rakes, shovels, loppers and work gloves, if you can. Snacks, coffee and water will be provided by our sponsor, YP. Volunteers will also receive a free T-shirt! Park at the Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library and walk one block to the Preserve, or park at Walmart and cross the street at the cross walk. Email [email protected] for more info. 

Saturday May 10th Tucker Day 2014 9AM – 5PM 
It's been 60 years since this fun-filled outdoor festival started out on the town's Main Street. To mark the occasion, the Tucker MainStreet Alliance, host of the Diamond Jubilee, is inviting families, businesses, vendors, and artists to get together in downtown Tucker and enjoy the festivities. Three stages will feature live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors will show off their wares, and food stalls will dish out numerous delights. There will, of course, be plenty of activities for children, and these are being sponsored by the Tucker Business Association. Main Street will close to traffic at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 9 to prepare for Saturday, but businesses will remain open. However, no parking will be available on Main Street from Railroad Avenue to LaVista Road.

Monday May 12th Mountain Shadow Garden Club ‘Palms and Tropicals’ 7:30PM
For those still recovering from our recent winter, here’s an invitation to enjoy the look and feel of the tropics in your own backyard. The program features Dennis Maddox of Randy’s Perennials and Water Gardens in Lawrenceville. He will present strategies for growing palms and tropical plants to enjoy their exuberant nature…and without a greenhouse or a big budget. Dennis has travelled in tropical areas (Thailand in particular) and has practical experience using locally-adapted selections. So plan your future escape from winter now. MSGC is open to men and women of all ages who enjoy learning more about diverse gardening interests. Refreshments and socializing follow. The location is Eastminster Presbyterian Church. Free. For more information call Jeff Raines at 404-641-8633.

Saturday May 17th Tucker Historical Society’s 12th Annual Garden Tour 9AM - 5PM 
There are five private gardens on the tour as well as the Master Gardener’s Butterfly Garden. Tickets are now available at The Garden Enthusiast. 


Friday May 2nd Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College  
A Walk in the Garden with Bill Belknap looking at Granite Outcrop and More at10:30AM followed by presentation at 12N by Richard & Theresa Ware on “Rare Plants of Georgia" Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. If desired, bring a lunch. 

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. 

Saturday May 3rd Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College Plant Sale 10AM – 2PM
 Cash or check only 

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. 

Tuesday, May 6th Heirloom Flowers for Today’s Gardens 6:45PM
UGA Extension presents Sara Henderson, well-known garden writer and designer. 4380 Memorial Drive Decatur 30032 in the Training Theater; Cost: $10 Call 404-298-4080 to pre-register. 

Friday May 9th Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College 
A Walk in the Garden with John Little looking at Trees & Shrubs at10:30AM followed by “Ask the Experts” at 12N with George Sanko, Karen Lindauer, Rick Barnes, Rick Barnes, John Little, & David Funderburk. Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. If desired, bring a lunch. 

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 at10AM. 

Friday May 16th Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College 
A Walk in the Garden with Debbie Cosgrove on Colonial Plants – Notes from Mr. Jefferson at10:30AM followed by presentation at 12N by Dr. Kim Coder on “The Grace of Native Trees – How They Live and Die Interacting with Other People”. Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. If desired, bring a lunch. 

Friday May 23rd Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College 
A Walk in the Garden with Ron Smith looking at the Best Perennials for a Butterfly Garden at 10:30AM followed by presentation at 12N with Jerry Hightower on “Plants of the Muck & Mire – Riparian Wetland Plants”. Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. If desired, bring a lunch. 

Friday May 30th Native Plant Botanical Garden at Georgia Perimeter College 
A Walk in the Garden with Rick Barnes looking at the Xeric Beds at10:30AM followed by presentation at 12N by Rick on “Hell’s Garden; The Sonora Desert”. Plant sale from 10AM – 2PM. If desired, bring a lunch. 

Saturday June 7th Behind the Garden Gate 9AM – 3PM 
GFWC Lilburn Woman's Club presents its debut tour of Lilburn Gardens. Eight gardens will be on the tour. Tickets: $20 Saturday June 21st The Daylily Society of Greater Atlanta & The Cobb County Daylily Society Daylily Show and Plant Sale 12PM – 4PM. This 10th Annual event will be held at the Cobb Galleria Center 

Free walking tours of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum every Friday & Saturday at 10AM. Register here on the 20th of every month for the following month’s walking tours. 


On my continuing journey of taking the Georgia Master Naturalist Program at Elachee Nature Science Center in Gainesville, I’ve been to two more sessions. One was Geology of Georgia and Beyond given by Dr. Ed Schrader of Breanu University. We learned about the different types of rocks and looked at some great maps of the Teutonic Plates, their movement and fault lines. I also attended ‘Stars over Elachee’ – our astronomy session – but unfortunately there was a cloud cover that night. We did identify 27 different birds on a hike though including Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Chuck-will’s-widow, and a Louisiana Waterthrush. 

Opportunities in the garden for May:
 • Plant beans, squash, corn, okra, tomatoes, peppers, peas, herbs, perennials and annuals – and more! Mulch to help retain moisture and keep down the weeds. 
• Remove dead flowers from plants in order to encourage new growth and more flowers. 
• Fertilize your annual and perennials. Fertilize roses and azaleas. 
• Now is the time to prune spring flowering shrubs like azaleas after they finish blooming. 
• Water early in the morning. If you have a sprinkler system, make sure the time is set appropriately. 
• Move houseplants outside in partial shade and feed them monthly. 

 Since 2006 we have heard about the unfortunate loss of honey bee colonies in North America and elsewhere. The decline in the number of bees is both shocking and frightening and blamed on a number of causes. Every single gardener can make a difference! Even if you plant just one more container of flowers than you have in previous years, you can help! Our Botanical Interests seeds have a lot of appropriate varieties to help you help the bees! Many of their packets that attract bees are marked as such! Here’s what to look for: 
• Plant flowers with open petals and upright stamens for easy access by our pollen-loving friends (Cosmos, Coneflowers). 
• Choose flowers that are heavy pollen producers (penstemon, salvia). • Some herbs provide food for insects as well as humans so add them to your garden also (Oregano).
 • Limit or eliminate pesticide usage. 
• Plant cover crops and use compost rather than relying on synthetic fertilizers. 
• Make sure your garden blooms from very early spring to late fall to provide food as long as possible. 
• If you have open spaces like fields, road sides, etc. plant with native wildflower mixes.
 • Provide shelter from the elements such as standing grasses, flower stalks, shrubs, etc.
 • Not all weeds need to be eradicated; see if the bees and butterflies are enjoying the buffet they offer and if they are, leave them be! 
All of the Botanical Interests seeds are NON - Gmo and none of the seeds are treated with pesticides! Plus, they are a gardening family owned business!


Purple Martins, Tree Swallows and Barn Swallows have been some of the early migrants. It's nice to see these beneficial bug eaters back for the warm months. Hummingbirds, Rose- breasted Grosbeaks, and Indigo buntings are just a few of the birds people are talking about seeing in their gardens right now. 

Many of you are reporting on your bluebird nests. We’ve had a couple of people who said they already have a second brood. Do you have you mealworms handy?

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology check out “All About Feathers” is a six part interactive multimedia program. Great for the kids (and adults)! 

Bird of the Month: Blue Gray Gnatcatcher 

• Blue Gray Gnatcatchers are tiny song birds. They are blue-grey on the upperparts and have white underparts. They have long black tails that are edged in white. They have white eye rings and a slender bill. The tail is often held upright when defending their territory or searching for food.
 • They are the only migratory gnatcatcher with most being residents of the Neotropics. They are considered summer residents in Georgia. 
• Blue Gray Gnatcatchers habitat includes deciduous woods especially near water. They mainly eat insects, insect eggs and spiders and may hover over foliage to catch insects in mid-air. 
• Their cup-shaped nest is similar to hummingbirds and found on horizontal tree branches. They are made of plant down, spider webs, and lichen. • They may have two broods per season. They have 4 or 5 brown spotted pale blue eggs. Incubation period is 13 days.
• Blue Gray Gnatcatchers have a distinctive “spee” call. They may also mimic songs from other birds. 

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). Several this month (*) that are close by. 

Friday May 2nd Panola Mountain 10AM
Birding Focus: Residents and migrants of wetlands & forest, including warblers, sparrows, blackbirds, raptors, waterfowl, waders, and shorebirds. Saturday May 3rd Piedmont Park 8AM Birding Focus: Late spring migrants and breeding residents. All levels welcome. Excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain. 

*Saturday May 3rd Stone Mountain Park Songbird Habitat and Trail 8AM 
Birding focus: 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. 

Sunday May 4th Noonday Creek Trail 8AM
Birding Focus: Late migrants and breeding residents in wetland and woodland habitats. Likely species include Great Blue Heron, woodpeckers, thrushes, warblers, and vireos. Any level of skill is welcome. 

Wednesday May 7th Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park 7:30AM Birding Focus: Kennesaw Mountain is the premier migrant hotspot in the southeast. We'll be looking for migrating flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks. All levels are welcome. 

Thursday May 8th Murphey Candler Park 7:30AM 
Birding Focus: Three main habitats (lake, wetlands, mixed woods) provide good species diversity. We'll look for residents and late spring migrants, 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. This site can be especially good for beginning birders. 

Friday May 9th Hard Labor Creek State Park 1PM 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 residents and late migrants, including woodland birds, waterfowl, and raptors.

Saturday May 10th Red Top Mountain State Park 8AM
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. 

Saturday May 10th Newman Wetlands Center and the Huie Ponds of the CCWA 8AM 
Birding Focus: Resident and migrating waterfowl, raptors, and woodland birds.

Thursday May 15th Cochran Shoals, CRNRA 7:30AM
Birding Focus: Permanent residents and late spring migrants, including waterfowl, raptors, sparrows, woodpeckers, and warblers. This walk is suitable for adults and children over 14 years of age. 

*Saturday May 17th Stone Mountain Park Songbird Habitat and Trail 8AM
Birding Focus: This will be a 1.5 mile easy walk for all skill levels. 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, 

*Wednesday May 21st Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve 7:30AM
Birding Focus: Breeding species of wetlands and woodlands. This walk is suitable for adults and children over 14 years of age. 

Saturday May 24th Newman Wetlands Center and Huie Ponds of the CCWA 8AM Birding Focus: Resident and migrating waterfowl, raptors, and woodland birds. 

Wednesday May 28th Reynolds Nature Preserve 8AM 
Birding Focus: Woodland birds such as Pileated Woodpecker, Barred Owl, Wood Thrush, and Acadian Flycatcher. The trail is very wide, flat, and is less than 2 miles round trip. It passes through mature deciduous forest and along several ponds.

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!