Monday, June 30, 2008

Design Workshop Decks, Patios and Porches

Gardening Gone Wild (GGW) sponsors a monthly workshop on design. I posted last month about my stone in the garden. This month's design workshop is on decks, patios and porches. I try to do these posts on the last day of the month, and since tomorrow's post is my monthly 'To Do' list, I will continue with the garden tours on Wednesday and wrap that up this week.

I have a deck, a 'wannabe' patio (in the distant future), and a porch. I will not focus on them all but did want to share a design tip or two dealing with my deck.

My deck sits approximately four feet above the ground, and I am very visible to neighbors when they are on their decks. I used to have neighbors that for me not having privacy from them was a huge problem. I wracked my brain to try to figure out how to solve the issue. I have done everything from building a big arbor, to planting trees, to strategically placing houseplants on the deck. All attempts helped with privacy, but it was not until I figured out how to attach an outdoor blind to my deck that we did finally obtain the full privacy we desired.

The first picture shows the problem side. The picture angle was taken more towards the house, instead of due south where the other house is located. Though the other people have moved and I don't need as much privacy, I left the blind up. My kitchen window is shown in the picture as well. The flowers make a good view, though to be honest I don't really like looking at the blind when it is down. The blind pretty much remains in the upright position now.

I happen to like pipes, plumbing pipes, PVC pipes and copper pipes. Pipes are economical, easy to customize, and work well in the garden. I found some iron pipes in the plumbing section of a local big box store. These iron pipes come in a black or natural iron finish. I chose the black pipes in a 3/4" diameter. I decided I would drill holes in the deck railing in order to install six foot tall pipes (2), a 90 degree elbow (2-one on each end), and a cross pipe across the top. Problem solved. I now had an easy, economical way of securing not only a blind to the deck for privacy, but also a place for hanging colorful hanging plants, bird feeders, and wind chimes.

The blind is a simple, plastic blind you can purchase just about anywhere for about $10. The cost of the pipes totalled about $20. The real benefit of using this method for privacy is that I did not have to perform a major renovation to the deck, it is removable, stable, utilitarian, and beautiful. It is also somewhat unobtrusive and blends in with the surroundings as you can see in the second picture. You almost have to really look for the pipes in the second picture.

Another unique feature of our deck is the two gates we built at the staircases. You can see a gate in the second picture. The gates contain our dogs should we desire to let them out, but don't want them going into the yard. Additionally, the gates would serve to keep small children (like my one year old grandson) from falling down the stairs.

This are my deck design tips for the GGW's workshop for June. If someone else uses these tips, be sure to post about it and let me know how it works for you. I would love to see others decks and am looking forward to the posts on this month's GGW design workshop.

in the garden....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Georgia Pine straw

The Saint says I have an Obsession with Pine straw. I don't believe I have an obsession at all. I just like the look of fresh pine straw used as a mulch.

We have many pine trees in our yard so the look of the straw within the landscaping fits perfect.

A good base of straw also is an asset in weed control.

I don't use fertilizer much and would rather the nutrients in the pine straw do the work for me so that would be several reasons as to why I spread so much pine straw each year.

Here is a load (27 bales) I picked up this spring that I spread around in my gardens.

I spread pine straw throughout in Islands, Planters, The Flower Garden, under bushes & trees and around the patio area. I have spread about 75 bales this spring.

You never know what condition of straw you will find as some people will allow twigs and pine cones to be picked up in the bales. I have recently found a pretty good place to purchase the stuff that is really clean. The primo stuff is the Red Long Leaf but hard to come by not to mention pricey. I paid $3.85 per bale for short needle and it is sort of dry, meaning I will have to top it with additional straw because it will break down before summers end.

The process I use around trees or bushes is as follows...

I take a flat shovel and dig out the grass around each tree or bush to form a perfect circle. When possible, I use the old sod elsewhere in the yard. This day, I was working around the Forsythia bush.

I often step back to see if the circle is even and large enough.

Once I have the circle exactly how I want it, then I am ready to spread the pine straw.


I spread the straw fairly thick to keep sunlight from penetrating to allow weeds to sprout...

Here is the final look of the freshly mulched Forsythia...

I really do like the clean look of the pine straw and think it adds to the natural look of our woods with many pine trees...

Here are some additional pictures of places where I have spread pine straw.


We had a real problem with drainage in this area of the backyard. This area is a natural run-off for rainfalls. We tried grass to no avail so I came up with a natural look of pine straw instead. It works great and stays in place after a good rain fall.


I will post on this island in the future. It is interesting how it evolved for us.


This island breaks up the large paved driveway for us. This island was in place when we bought the house.

The Saint wanted to remove the island and pave over it but after the words divorce were brought up, he backed off of that one. Not really just kidding, I would never divorce my Saint over asphalt but he got the point of how mad I would be. Now he too enjoys the island even though it is a bit of a challenge for him to back the boat into the shed with the island in the way!


We have two large planters in front of the house and they are both filled with pine straw as a mulch as well.

The pine straw keeps the Japanese Maple trees, Camellia and Nandina bushes cool in the summer and warm during the winter.


The Flower Garden gets its share of pine straw also. I usually try to plant things which like the acid from pine needles but this year I added some new plants and did not research to see if they would like the nutrient from the pine straw. I may end up loosing some plants due to my lack of research. But if I loose any plants, that will make room for more next year!

Here is one of the many Crepe Myrtle trees that we keep pine straw under. I also keep the straw under all the bushes and trees that are in the grassy portions of the yard. The trees in the woods provide their own mulch each fall by dropping tons of leaves and pine straw.

It is a shame I cannot use the pine straw in our woods but I prefer it stay there as a natural look plus leaves get mixed in with the pine needles and I don't like that look in my landscaped areas. Looks fine in the woods and county right of way though.

I do Spread a lot of pine straw but now that you have seen the look of things, don't you think it is worth it? I know I enjoy the look of it and it last all summer long and gets a fresh thin coat for winter.

If you build up too much, it will mold really badly and can cause disease to the trees and plants. I remove the old straw every other year to keep the mold away.

I usually take the old straw up to the county right of way and spread it around to keep a natural look on the roadside.

This picture was snapped one spring when the azaleas were in bloom up on the street.

Now that you have seen my pine straw mulching, what do you think? Do I have an obsession with spreading Georgia Pine straw, In the Garden?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The European Flair

The Browder Garden is a very special garden and similar in style to mine, though more refined-I am working on it-have patience! I enjoyed Helga and Dewey's garden very much.

Like many couples I meet who garden together, each half of the couple have their niche. Helga's is the flowers, and Dewey's is the vegetables.

I was very sorry to have missed seeing Helga at her garden, but I did meet her and her daughter at my garden. They made the long trek out here to Woodlawn to visit me just prior to my taking off to tour the other gardens. I appreciated it! Dewey was home though and showed Julie, Nancy and I around his extensive vegetable garden (a big hit with the crowds). He also shared some water; which was ever so helpful on the hot day we toured the gardens!
I learned quite a bit about vegetables from Dewey. Our vegetable gardens are very similar in that we both garden in raised beds and have solid paths in our vegetable gardens. His is surrounded by a picket fence and has a wonderful garden house located nearby. Dewey's garden gets full sun (a must for vegetables) and mine only part sun (but my veggies do okay due to the garden's orientation). Dewey taught us about a salad you can grow in the summertime. A big goal of mine is to pick greens at the same time I pick cucumbers and tomatoes. This is a hard task in Tennessee since most salad greens like cool weather and there is not much of that here in the summer. I believe it was Portulaca oleracea Dewey was growing. I am going to look for the seeds and try it out as it likes the heat! Some of the Browder's favorite vegetables growing in the vegetable garden are: German potatoes, tomatoes, beans, peas, a variety of salads, radishes, garlic, onions, carrots, Kohlrabi, corn, peppers and eggplant.

Helga and Dewey have six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. Their grandchildren's names are: Nicholas, Phillip, Eric, Katie, Lauren and Jessica, and they all reside in the garden! No silly, not the grandchildren literally, but the Pin Oaks that are named after the grandchildren. Naming trees is a good thing and I know a few other gardeners who name their trees. The only named tree I have is Christine's tree. I'll have to name a few more.

Helga, I hope to make it out to your garden when you are home. I would love to talk with you about it. And come back here when you have time and we can talk too!

Helga and Dewey wrote a lovely description of their garden which I would like to share with you all:

Our gently sloping backyard is a combination of island gardens and floating flower beds with different characteristics.

The 'Gazebo Surround' is our shade garden and is hope to: hostas, ferns, bleeding hearts, astilbes, hydrangeas and other shade loving plants.

The 'Moon Garden' used to only contain white flowering plants, but is now our new Austin Peay State University (APSU) Garden and sports a combination of red and white plants-APSU's colors! (That is it with the white Adirondick chair, Annabelles and red geraniums)

The 'Northern Boundary' island is the busiest part of the garden in terms of plant variety, color and structure. It is anchored by a native cedar tree; which is home to lots of our feathered friends. The hummingbirds absolutely love the bright red monarda (bee balm) and find lots of other flowers for food.

The 'Rockery' is mostly a spring bed with azaleas, iris, and daffodils. It also glows later in the summer with crepe myrtles and sedum. A garden house (German style), the vegetable garden, a berry patch, and a few smaller accent gardens float in the upper garden to round out the backyard.

Most beds are framed by flagstone borders which we have added over the years. We have lots of wildlife including everything from birds to deer to rabbits to squirrels to turkeys to foxes and butterflies. Some critters we enjoy more than others.

Helga wanted to share a funny story about the garden tour. Patsy, her daughter and helper on garden tour day, was walking toward a garden while a visitor was also walking toward it from a different direction. All of a sudden a baby deer jumped up and ran right by them in a big hurry! It scared both ladies half to death and must have been a sight. The baby deer had been in the bed all morning even while some 140 visitors toured the garden.

I want to share a funny story too. Not many will experience this happening-and it is probably a good thing. Helga liked a hypertufa pot I had made. I offered it to her at a very reasonable price, complete with the plants. She unfortunately got a bonus with the pot unknown to her. While driving away from my house on Lylewood Road, a big toad landed on her ankle. Imagine some panic and crazy driving for a quick minute there. She stopped and let the big fella out and continued on her way. I asked her daughter if she got a picture as it would surely make a good blog picture. She replied, "NO, it was NOT a Kodak moment." Too, too funny and I am glad you are safe Helga and Patsy!

in the garden....

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Shady and Beautiful Tour

I visited with Charlsie on Monday for nearly two hours. One of Charlsie's neighbors (Eunice, whom I knew through garden clubs and master gardeners) had told me I really should visit Charlsie's garden as it was so beautiful. Yes indeed. But what I could not understand was just how well planned, incorporated and managed the garden was until I paid it a visit myself. The following is Charlsie's words about her garden.

It was an honor to have been asked to include our flower gardens in the 2008 Master Gardeners' Montgomery County Tour, and such a joy to walk through our gardens with 100 interested guests that beautiful first day of summer, Saturday, June 21.

Having always had an interest in landscaping, we've found terracing to have worked for our extremely sloped and wooded lot. Over the 24 years we have lived here, my husband has built 2-foot-tall rock walls; which cascade down our hillsides. These curved walls have become the foundation for our flower beds, meandering pine needle paths, winding stone walkways, and a rocked, dry creek bed; which crooks down the hillside carrying rainwater. Shade loving trees, shrubs, ground covers, and flowers have been planted throughout our landscape and are accented with birdbaths, bird feeders and benches.

We are surrounded with a beautiful forest of very tall woodland trees and indigenous dogwoods. Ornamental magnolias, Rose of Sharon, and on Japanese maple represent the smaller flowering trees we enjoy nearest our home and in our gardens.Azaleas, rhododendrons, and laurels are examples of the spring blooming shrubbery we prefer. Coolness is added to our shade gardens with the deep green color of transplanted wood ferns, vinca minor, blue liriope, and Francee and Patriot hostas.

We feel that the trees, shrubs and groundcover plantings are conducive to the setting we enjoy and provide a serene backdrop for the color found in the perennial and annual plantings we like to use. In my opinion, the greatest visual impact comes from the cool colors of blue, white and shades of pink found in our gardens. Gorgeous blue mophead hydrangeas and white oak leaf hydrangeas provide us with lasting color throughout the spring and summer. The numerous pink astilbes we use add perennial springtime beauty and interest with their texture and sweet smell. Our favorite annuals to incorporate are pink impatiens and pink begonias; which are planted plentifully and in groupings with white Christmas caladiums, whose bulbs I harvest at the end of the season to replant in late spring.

Colorful potted containers overflowing with white caladiums, various shades of pink impatiens, and English ivy are found throughout our back patio area and accent the stairs leading to the upstairs screened porch. Ivy covered trellises add interest to the patio area, and another porch trellis is the foundation for our 24 year old Sweet Autumn clematis. The clematis tendrils are woven throughout the trellis and upward to the deck railing awaiting its late summer showing of tiny, fragrant white blossoms. Living so near the woods, we are fortunate to also have a treasure of spring blooming wildflowers; which include bountiful bluebells, multitudes of may apples, purple ajuga, lavender woodland phlox and trillium, to name a few. False Solomon's Seal is also found in abundance, with its white, feathery spring blossom turning into golden beads in summer.

While shopping in a garden nursery a few years ago, an elderly gentleman made this comment to me, "I can tell that you are a happy person." I asked how he knew. He then said, "Because you love flowers, and you love gardening. I have found that flower gardeners are always happy people." Yes, I do love flower gardening, and I am most happy when I'm in my cool and colorful shade garden. I hope my husband and I have made our garden setting both beautiful and inviting.

Charlsie, you are indeed a happy person and a super good gardener.

I included many pictures which I hope illustrate how wonderfully planned, cool and beautiful Charlsie's garden on the slope shows.

in the garden....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Shan and Susan's Garden Tour

Sit back and relax a while and take a tour of some gardens in Montgomery County with me. We shall start at Shan and Susan Smith's garden.

Any garden tour you take to Shan and Susan Smith's idyllic garden in the woods would have to start with the ponds. Both are man made, but the one with the waterfall surrounded with massive rocks is a koi pond; which is intensively managed. The koi were wonderful! Can you see them swimming around in the pond in the first picture?

Shan will tell you they are a BIG part of the garden and he loves them and water very much. While we were there (myself, Nancy and Julie), Shan fed the fish. It was amazing and they were quite a bunch! Quite a ravenous bunch! And wonderful to watch amongst the gardens.

The next two pictures are of a special pond Shan and Susan had built. Shan's late father was the Montgomery County Soil Conservation Officer. As such, one of his tasks was to help farmers control erosion and prevent run off. Ponds help control erosion and conserve soil. Shan's dad designed this large and natural pond (pictured below) for Shan and Susan. The pond is named after him (Lake Billy Frank), and is a special pond because he just passed away last year. Tuesday, June 24th would have been Shan's father's 82nd birthday. I know they miss him very much.

The pond fits into the wooded setting and reminds me of a campsite at a far away park lost in the woods. Very serene and calm. The water was quite sparkly and the setting beautiful.

No garden tour post would be complete without a picture of the gardener and some of the visitors. The last picture on this post shows Shan taking some visitors around his garden.

Shan tells me he and his wife estimated they had over 100 visitors to the garden. All visitors were very nice and enjoyed the coolness of the woods, beautiful ponds, and gorgeous fish.

One of my personal favorite parts of Shan and Susan's garden was the replica of a statue you can find in Brussels, Belgium. It is of a bronze boy 'peeing' in the pond. A bit of whimsy that all gardens need! Plus who doesn't love that European feeling?

I also enjoyed talking to both Susan and Shan and want to share an anecdote or two. I am going to try to share at least one per garden. I did visit all gardens and enjoyed them all. There was a wide range of gardens and they were all as varied as the gardeners who tended them.

One thing Susan told me that was a funny story was this:

I had commented on how big and lush her impatiens were on the side of the porch. She said, "Funny story, our one and only neighbor had ordered a truckload of manure to be delivered. The delivery truck driver made a mistake and dumped it on the side of our house in front of the porch instead of at our neighbor's! The impatiens and everything I plant in this spot grows very well!" Yes, I can imagine that was funny! I am sure the neighbor and delivery truck driver were not happy about the situation, but it is still a funny story and one neighbor's lost manure is another's gain of a lush garden.

Another poignant part of their garden aside from the pond which is such a part of Shan's late father, is "Ms. Kitty's Tree". Shan spotted a variegated dogwood at a local nursery. He really wanted it but the nursery owner said he could not sell it because it was promised to his wife. But then he relented and sold Shan the dogwood. The nursery owner's wife came down with cancer and passed away within months of Shan acquiring that tree. Now Shan and Susan call it Ms. Kitty's tree and told the nursery owner. He was touched and honored. Aren't gardens good for a laugh and a memory? Look for more posts on the individual gardens to come....including mine.

in the garden....

Thank you Susan for sending me the pictures and thanks for hosting us on a private tour on Sunday! And thanks for trusting me!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Northside Shrub Border

This is my 'Northside Shrub Border' beginning when you come out of our back gate and heading east into the bend to the long part. It is a truly mixed border and is one of the longest gardens in my yard. It is about 100' long and 11' feet wide, not including the bent parts at either end of it. It borders the northside of my property and is somewhat shady because of neighboring trees both to the north and south of it. It is extremely dry to a tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). If anyone reading this grows these trees, be prepared for a battle in the garden. I do not grow this tree, it is my neighbors, but I might as well as much as it loves my yard. The roots are fibrous and suck ALL moisture from the ground. Then it drops leaves prematurely and is basically an all around problem tree for me, though I do admit it is beautiful in the right spot.

Here is another view of the border looking toward the east. I generally don't like pictures with shadows and light patterns, but this one looks so awesome with the sun coming through and hitting a bit of the mist. This border is about four years old. I hand dug every bit of it. Its original intent was to form a backdrop and privacy screen on this side of the yard. Of course, like all gardeners and their gardens, it evolved into much more. In addition to the numerous shrubs (Variegated Privet, Silverberry, Viburnums, Photinia, Mock Orange, Hydrangea Tardiva, Red Twig Dogwood, Chaste trees, Burning Bush, Blueberries, and a Foster Holly), there are multiple bulbs and perennials, both herbaceous and woody.

I thought the border would never fill in. Here it is above looking toward the west and my backyard. My theory when building this garden was to plant perennials repetitively. I did not have a ton of plants to start with, so I would plant maybe one daylily every ten feet, right next to it would be a small group of coneflowers, shasta daisies and so on. I intended to divide the groups every year until I had a huge display of each perennial at regular intervals. Well, that has happened, but along the way something else has happened. There is no distinct plan and cohesiveness for this garden. It is very full and fairly colorful and the colors even match well, but not in a manner I am happy with.

The last view of the northside shrub border is at the beginning of the bend from the roadside shrub border on the east end of the garden. This part of the garden is most dry and gets some pretty good sun. Yarrow, shasta daises, and daylillies comingle happily. I am trying to fit some more hardy souls in here; which will require much thought and digging.

I can see a garden renovation in the very near future (once we get rain). Almost everything will come out. I will leave the 'Powis Castle' Artemisia as it is a good blender and fairly uniformly placed. The shrubs will stay only because they are too big for me to successfully move, but all perennials are coming out. I intend to have the same plants, though in larger and fewer groups. Control is the word. Ha, this should be fun for me-the perennial collector of all things that grow. Where will I fit it all?

That is the crux of the matter. Reworking this garden is fairly simple, it is finding homes for the outcasts and odd plants that I just can't seem to part with. I can see a long week or two of work here in this garden. Sigh.

My whole point to this post is to try to practice some control in the garden. While I had a general idea of how to fill this bed, it did not work well for me. If I can help one person to keep from making the same mistake of not planning properly, and of not using control and restraint in the garden, it has been worth it all. I am sure next year's garden will be so much better....with maybe a bit more uniformity and control?

in the garden....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I know gardens bring people together, and so does technology. I am hoping I can reach a very old and dear friend through this blog-through gardening and technology. She knows who she is. We have lost touch and I am worried. Very worried and I would love to hear she is doing okay.

Please Dee, contact me right away. I still have the same telephone number and my email is

in the garden....

Plant of the Month June 08

I can't choose a specific Plant of the Month for June. I am going to let you all choose which one you like best in a survey on my sidebar. There are many more who read than comment, and I hope those readers will also vote for the Plant of the Month. The choices are Yarrow or Bee Balm.

Let me say that normally I would truly make a decision with no problem. Even though there are many great blooming plants in June, these two meet all of my criteria for becoming the Plant of the Month in my garden, but they are both SO similar I really can't choose.

Both yarrow and bee balm have the following features in common: drought tolerant, spread rather aggressively, grow in sun (preferred) or part sun, make a great display for a month or more, disease and pest resistant, have multiple colors and growth habits, and generally are all around good plants. The worst that can be said is they may spread too aggressively, but I have not had a problem with this in my garden, so I am comfortable choosing either one of these two outstanding perennials.

So, to everyone out there reading this post, which one will win the title Plant of the Month? If it is a tie, I will award the title to both plants with no problem.

in the garden....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bathing Beauties

I have never met a gardener who didn't also like birds. Now I have met gardeners who won't do anything for the birds, such as put out birdbaths or feed them, but they ALL unequivocally like the birds. Skeeter's great tips on dealing with birdbaths and caring for them was a timely post which tied in well with this one. Now I don't have to think too hard to tell you all how to care for birdbaths but making sure you have fresh water for them is important so they can eat those bugs!
I am one of those gardeners who wants to do for the birds. Silly me, I keep thinking they will become my friends and understand I only have their best interests at heart. But it ain't happening. They keep 'depositing' pesky weed seeds like poison ivy, honeysuckle, wild cherries, and pokeweed in my garden. Nonetheless, I roll out the welcome mat daily.

Not sure how it happens but I am getting a collection of birdbaths in my garden. I love birdbaths. It is not enough to just feed the birds, no, providing a bathing station for the beauties is the only way to go! I never knew the joy of bathing birds until I moved here to Tennessee.

The birds just can't get enough of the birdbaths, and I can't get enough of watching them. Early in the morning the robins come to splish splash everywhere. Beads of water with sunlight captured for just a moment flash through the air.

Next come the doves, cardinals and blue jays. They are not as happy go lucky as the robins, but love the water just the same. Throughout the day I will notice chickadees, finches and bluebirds visiting the birdbaths for a drink or a quick dunk. The birdbaths are never ending hubs of activity for the birds.

Once the little bathing beauties are finished bathing, they quickly flutter to nearby trees to dry off. While drying off they might watch their buddies bathe or talk to themselves in a pleasant manner.

The first picture is of a birdbath visible from my kitchen window. It is a busy bathing area in the evening when I am preparing dinner or washing the dishes. This birdbath is located in the shade in a nice garden with plenty of shrubs and areas for the birds talk and socialize during bath time. Many types of birds frequent this area.

The second picture is of my finch bathing area. It is located pretty much in full sun in my butterfly garden. Mainly finches bath and drink here. I think sometimes the water gets a bit too hot and it may be too shallow for the robins and bigger birds.

The third birdbath is a cement bath all types of birds love. It is located on the north side of my home in my 'Crabapple Garden'. It is most busiest in the morning when the robins are splashing up a storm.

The white three tier water feature is a resin fountain that when turned on attracts the interest of birds. I can't say I have ever seen any birds bathing or drinking from it, but the cat sure loves drinking out of it!

The pink three tiered concrete birdbath is a busy spot for all types of birds. It is located in my pink/blue garden out front. It is a joy to sit on my porch and watch the robins frolic here.

I have several other birdbaths. One is a metal birdbath in my front foundation garden. It is mainly visited by the finches.

The other 'water' areas are mainly comprised of shallow dishes, both plastic and clay saucers, full of water placed on the ground for easy accessibility of birds, frogs and toads. Birdbaths need not be fancy, just clean and full and accessible with an area for a quick retreat in case of emergency! I like to place my birdbaths in some shade with good visibility for the birds and for me and close accessibility to water. Last summer these birdbaths were lifesavers for the many birds near my home. Try it out!

What kind of birdbaths do you have in your garden?

in the garden....

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Garden Birdbath issues

As you all know by now, we enjoy birds in our gardens. We have 5 birdbaths in various spots to welcome our feathered friends.

I don't know why they call them birdbaths as the birds in our yard seem to drink from them more so then bath in the water.

A Pileated Woodpecker was a recent visitor to one such watering hole. This was a treat as we have never seen the Pileated in the birdbath taking a drink before.

During the summer months, the baths can get dirty with frequent use.

So I (in this picture, the Saint) pour out the old water and clean the birdbaths to ensure fresh water for healthier birds.

Birds provide us a service by eating tons of bugs thus healthier plants and flowers in the gardens.

Another bonus is the beautiful music the birds sing for me as I work in the gardens.

Algae will grow quickly in the humid days of summer.

The calender still says spring but the hot steamy 100 degree days say something differently here in Georgia. So we are filling the baths in the morning and evenings right now to satisfy many different visitors.

We brush away the algae, bird poo and other gunk that forms from frequent use. Then rinse with fresh water and dump once again.

The watering jug comes in handy for this process so I don't need to drag out the garden hose.

The fresh water is ready for the next visitor to include raccoon and deer during the night time hours.

The only problem with this cleaning method is that a rut forms below the birdbath with a waterfall effect from the dirty water being poured out. This is not a problem with the bath you see pictured as it is in a wooded area.

However, this is a problem in the Flower Garden. This was a problem that needed solving. I thought of putting flowers below but feared they would get too much moisture or be damaged from the waterfall effect. I also tried using pine straw mulch below only to have the dirt underneath rise to the surface and cause a messy look and still had ruts to deal with.

I finally came up with a solution while recently reworking my flower garden..

I put a frog statue below the birdbath and added some additional stones to hide the statue's base.

Keeping with the frog theme, I placed a Frog/Toad house beside the pedestal of the bath.

I planted some marigolds (they were not blooming at time of posting) and placed a colorful butterfly stake into the ground for additional color to the area.

When I tilt the water basin, the water falls below on the frog statue thus breaking up the waterfall effect.

No more ruts in the ground below my birdbath!

This solution did not cost me a penny as I already had all the items scattered about in other areas of the garden. I just joined them together to form the perfect solution to my little problem.

I often sit at the garden bench nearby and watch the birds taking a sip of water or splashing about in the cool clean water.

I provide fresh water for the birds and they in return keep the bug population to a minimum.

I think this is a pretty good trade off so I will continue to solve Garden Birdbath issue as they arise, In the Garden...