Feed the Birds

Allowing native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants to  proliferate not only strengthens the web of life it is partnering with Gaia.

Blue Jay bird on sumac

Adding additional food sources to the gardens helps to feed the creatures who share our space.

Chipmunk on sunflower

In eastern Pennsylvania October is the time to help gardens ready for the coming winter.

The potting shed in autumn

It is also a time to help the wildlife around us get ready for darker, colder days.

Downy Woodpecker on sunflower (bird)

Due to their high metabolic rate birds in particular need high-energy foods, those high in calorie and fat content.

Eastern Towhee (bird)

Juniper berries provide this important source of energy, containing 46% carbohydrate and 16% fat.

American robin bird on Eastern Red Cedar

Sunflower seeds contain almost 30 percent fat as well as fiber, protein, calcium, B vitamins, iron potassium and vitamin E.

Tuffed Titmouse on sunflower (bird)

Sharing a space means becoming a caretaker. We are an important part of the web of life. At this moment in time we are the only ones who can completely destroy it or strengthen each strand.

Black-capped Chickadee on sunflower (bird)




The Importance of Native Sumac

Numerous articles have been penned extolling the virtues of native plants.  The West Virgina Native Plant Society  has posted this article

Native Shrubs in wildlife landscaping

Exotics or invasive species squeeze out natives and diminish populations of both flora and fauna.

Terrestrial orchid flower Epipactis Helleborine  2
A Beautiful Invasive weed – Helleborine epipactis

In order to preserve our native ecosystems we need to recognize the importance of our natives.

Reflection of the sumac stand

This stand of sumac was a mass of shrubs when we became the caretakers of this farmstead.

3 flicker birds on sumac
Northern Flicker


We carefully thinned out the stand and today we have sumac trees which feed our native bird population.

Titmouse bird on sumac
Tuffed Titmouse


If you have Staghorn sumac growing on your property consider allowing them to reach their full potential.

Blue Jay  bird on sumac
Blue Jay



American robin bird on sumac in winter
American Robin


Both you and native wildlife will be rewarded!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on sumac
Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Downy Woodpecker on sumac
Downy Woodpecker


Ficker bird on sumac
Northern Flicker


Just Another Beautiful Day

As I walk through the gardens in the morning I wonder how to best share its transformation.

Road-side flower bed
Road-side flower bed, Golden Spirea, Catmint and Lamium, (Spotted Dead Nettle)

Just a few months ago the Dreamer was blanketed by snow and paths were non-existent. 

Stream-side path by the Labyrinth
Stream-side path by the Labyrinth Hostas, Hellebores and Weigela compliment a River Birch

Color now abounds,

Snap Dragon flowers covered with dew drops
Snap Dragon flowers covered with dew drops

birds sing and “creatures great and small” share this sacred space.

New-born American Robin s in the cryptomeria japonica
New-born American Robin s in the cryptomeria japonica

The Case for Sumac – Rhus typhina

I recently had a conversation with a coworker about the stand of staghorn sumac behind my home.  She asked if I used it in cooking.  I said no but  was aware that a cultivar of  sumac  was used generously in  Middle Eastern cooking. 

My primary reason for its continued cultivation was as a food source for those who share the gardens

Bluebird on sumac

Downy Woodpecker on sumac

American robin

and the visual appeal they provide for the human creatures who wander through.

Sumac Reflrctions

Sumac on the back slope

But if you’re wondering about sumac as a spice…

Sumac is a shrub which grows wild in the Mediterranean region, and this sumac is not toxic or poisonous. This non-poisonous variety also grows in other areas around the world and can be a colorful addition to home landscaping.Ground sumac is a dark red-burgundy color. As a dried berry, ground sumac has a nutty texture when used dry. It has a tart, sour lemon taste.

Using Sumac:

The use of sumac came to Greece from the Middle East where it is more widely used. In Greek cooking, sumac is used as a rub for grilled meats, and as a flavoring most notably on meats, in stews, and in pita wraps. It is also used in rice and vegetable dishes. Try adding a dash to the top of humus for a new taste treat.  from: greekfood.about.com
Oak leaf and Sumac berry
Sumac berry on pin oak leaf

Look Up Look Down

Companions come in all shapes and sizes

Grasshopper on garden sculpture

Looking up I watch babies fledge

American Robin
American Robin

Looking down I watch each step I take being careful not to tread on creatures of the night

American Toad
American Toad

Hidden in plain sight others cool in pools of caught water

Green Frog
Green Frog in down spout pond

Or perch upon flower petals readying themselves for what lies ahead

Juvenile Praying Mantis
Juvenile Praying Mantis

Garden Share

A garden banquet of suet, sumac and sunflower seeds has been

set and guests begin to arrive

No matter the season  the garden is to be shared  . . .

Whitetail Deer
Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
House Finch
House Finch
Gray squirrel
Gray Squirrel
American robin
American Robin