Written by Tammy Clayton

Continued from page 1

The Bluebird is very territorial,repparttar male protecting his food supplies from other male Bluebirds’ trespassing. The nesting site must have sufficient food for them to raise their young and exist themselves for them to be tempted to set up housekeeping. Onlyrepparttar 113334 female buildsrepparttar 113335 nest inrepparttar 113336 chosen shelter, whilerepparttar 113337 male accompanies her solely by singing his encouragement while she works.

Nest building starts in mid-May in Michigan and 3 to 5 clear blue eggs are laid inrepparttar 113338 clutch. The baby birds grow alarmingly fast, ready to leaverepparttar 113339 next in 15 to 20 days after hatching. By that time they are strong enough to fly fifty to one hundred feet their first attempt at flight torepparttar 113340 nearest perch.

By early September most Bluebirds have finished up their family responsibilities forrepparttar 113341 season. A fortunate pair will have raised two or even three broods by that time. Duringrepparttar 113342 fall, families of Bluebirds roam leisurely throughrepparttar 113343 countryside on a quest for insects and berries in great abundance.

Over these travels, different families join together in a loose flock, as they get ready for migrating. The date of their heading south is timed more byrepparttar 113344 weather and food supply than byrepparttar 113345 calendar. They migrate in search for food and congregate in more southern parts of their regions.

It is not thatrepparttar 113346 Bluebird cannot spend winter inrepparttar 113347 northern areas like Michigan, quite torepparttar 113348 contrary they will stay as long asrepparttar 113349 food supply lasts. Planting trees, shrubs and vines with berries that last throughrepparttar 113350 winter will provide much needed foor for wintering birds. Bittersweet, flowering Dogwood, Cotoneasters, Washington Hawthorns, Privet, Sumac, Pyracantha, flowering Crabapples, Virginia Creeper, multiflora Roses (rose hips), and Mountain Ash are all favorite food sources inrepparttar 113351 cold season for birds that thrive inrepparttar 113352 northern climates. They can sometimes be tempted to feeding stations with raisins, other fruits and berries and chopped unsalted peanuts, but they are not seed eaters so you will never find them eating from normal bird feeders. Shouldrepparttar 113353 small fruits and berries they depend on become crusted with ice and snow,repparttar 113354 effort of providing food will keep them from starving to death. If they are forced to go to roost hungry, bitter cold will cause many of them to die.

Properly built winter houses are enough protection from severe weather for them to live year round even inrepparttar 113355 north. To accommodate them for winter roosting,repparttar 113356 box should be large enough to shelter a number of birds. Floor dimensions should be 10” x 10”, with a depth of 18” and a width of 24”. The hole must be 1 1/2” or Starlings will move in on them, and needs to be atrepparttar 113357 bottom ofrepparttar 113358 box with a perch placed beneath it. Several horizontal perches should be positioned inside at various levels at staggered intervals up one sidewall using 1/2” doweling The side ofrepparttar 113359 box should be hinged to allow cleaning inrepparttar 113360 spring. The box must be at least 6 feet ofrepparttar 113361 ground to protect them from predators while they sleep, using a smooth metal pole that is greased so that nothing can climb it to reachrepparttar 113362 box. Placerepparttar 113363 winter roosts facing south forrepparttar 113364 most warmth fromrepparttar 113365 sun.

For nesting boxes, againrepparttar 113366 hole should measure only 1 1/2” and be situated about 5 foot offrepparttar 113367 ground for observance ofrepparttar 113368 young inrepparttar 113369 nest. But forrepparttar 113370 nestingrepparttar 113371 hole should be towardrepparttar 113372 top ofrepparttar 113373 box to protectrepparttar 113374 young from cold drafts. The nesting box must face due east. Nesting boxes cannot be any closer than 100 foot apart. Too many boxes will result in no Bluebirds—remember they are territorial and will only reside where they know there is enough food for themselves and their young.

Small air holes should be put next torepparttar 113375 roof board, and drainage should be provided inrepparttar 113376 floor so it will not fill up with water. The roof should be slanted downward inrepparttar 113377 front to stop rain from blowing intorepparttar 113378 nest.

What a delightful preserve to add to your yard, create your own Bluebird Reserve. Stop sprayingrepparttar 113379 cutworms and grasshoppers, plant oodles of berry-bearing plants, and erect proper housing for both seasons in a suburban to rural setting and trust me, they will inspectrepparttar 113380 site and set to building a nest.


For more great Gardening articles, visit:

Raised by a highly respected & successful landscape contractor in the metro Detroit area, Clayton wanted a career in anything but landscaping! Now an award-winning landscape designer, Clayton runs Flowerville Farms, a mail-order nursery in Michigan. Read more at

Top 5 Secrets to Keeping Your Carnivorous Plants Alive, Healthy and Beautiful

Written by Jacob Farin

Continued from page 1

Secret #4: Season your plants.

One day while I was atrepparttar Farmers’ Market selling my carnivorous plants, a customer stopped by and said that she hadrepparttar 113333 good fortune to see a type of carnivorous plant growing inrepparttar 113334 wild while visiting friends in Canada.

I immediately knew which plant she had seen, so I held up a Purple Pitcher Plant and she exclaimed, “Yes, that isrepparttar 113335 plant I saw!”

I then told her how easy it was to grow that plant outdoors all year round, to which she replied, “But duringrepparttar 113336 winter, you have to bring them indoors, right?”

“Why would you need to do that?”

“Because it will get too cold for them,” she stated with authority.

At that point, I was very puzzled. So, I said to her, “If you saw them growing inrepparttar 113337 wild in Canada, surely they can live outdoors in Oregon. It gets much colder in Canada than it does in Oregon.”

It amazes me how often some people assume that just because a plant is carnivorous it is: 1) tropical, 2) delicate, and 3) difficult to grow. This is precisely why people kill their carnivorous plants. They treat them as a tropical, delicate carnivorous plant that is difficult to grow without knowing if they actually have a tropical, delicate carnivorous plant that is difficult to grow. This is definitely a recipe for disaster.

All carnivorous plants native torepparttar 113338 United States and Canada are considered temperate plants, meaning they go dormant duringrepparttar 113339 winter months, and come right back to life in spring and summer. Other non-carnivorous plants that do this are roses, daisies, daffodils and thousands upon thousands of other types of plants grown all aroundrepparttar 113340 world.

This is why Secret #1 is a very important secret. You need to know what type of plant you have to determine whether it requires winter dormancy or if it needs to be indoors during those cold winter months.

Temperate plants need to rest up for spring. Without their winter rest, they get very cranky and may fail to grow in spring. Think of how you feel when you do not get enough sleep. So, if you want healthy vibrant plants in spring, give them a winter rest. They might even reward you with flowers!

Secret #5: Holdrepparttar 113341 fertilizer, please.

If you want gorgeous looking carnivorous plants duringrepparttar 113342 growing season, repot your plants right before they come out of dormancy. In most cases, this would be in March. Repotting your plants serves two purposes.

Firstly, carnivorous plants need room to grow. Depending onrepparttar 113343 species, some rhizomes can get quite large. Other species have long deep taproots. So, it is important that you give these guys enough root space.

Secondly, changingrepparttar 113344 soil yearly aeratesrepparttar 113345 roots. With fresh oxygen, roots will grow more robustly, producing healthier plants.

Springtime is also a time when you should cut off dead leaves or any leaves that have turned brown. This will prevent fungal infections and increase sunlight torepparttar 113346 base ofrepparttar 113347 plant.

When repotting your plants, a standard soil mix to use is 1 part peat moss and 1 part perlite. Peat moss adds acidity and retains moisture, while perlite provides drainage.

This soil recipe is sufficient for 80% of all carnivorous plants. You can adjustrepparttar 113348 recipe by adding more perlite or other inert matter to increaserepparttar 113349 drainage. Just make surerepparttar 113350 soil is void of nutrients and fertilizer.

Fertilizer is toxic to carnivorous plants and will burn their roots. (Very painful.) Carnivorous plants will get all of their nutrients from insects caught in their leaves.

There you have it! You have just readrepparttar 113351 TOP 5 SECRETS TO KEEPING YOUR CARNIVOROUS PLANTS ALIVE, HEALTHY AND BEAUTIFUL.

You learned:

Secret #1: Correctly identifyrepparttar 113352 type of carnivorous plant you have. Remember, not all carnivorous plants are created equal. Some grow in temperate bogs, while others grow in hot humid jungles.

Secret #2: Brighten their days with full sun.

Secret #3: Soak their feet.

Secret #4: Season your plants.

Secret #5: Repot yearly and holdrepparttar 113353 fertilizer.

Each secret is an important part ofrepparttar 113354 foundation on which you can grow beautiful carnivorous plants all year round.

Believe it or not, you now know more about growing carnivorous plants than you local nursery. Really, when wasrepparttar 113355 last time you saw Venus Flytraps being sold inrepparttar 113356 outdoor plant section? In nearly all cases, you will find them inrepparttar 113357 indoor plant section, amongstrepparttar 113358 tropical plants.

When you follow these simple steps, your carnivorous plants will have no choice but grow into healthy and beautiful plants that you can be proud of!

BONUS SECRET! Always start with healthy and beautiful carnivorous plants. Make surerepparttar 113359 seller is growing them correctly; otherwise you will have an uphill battle trying to keep your plants alive.

For healthy and beautiful carnivorous plants direct from experienced growers, visit Sarracenia Northwest at

Jacob Farin is co-owner of Sarracenia Northwest, a nursery specializing in the cultivation of beautiful carnivorous plants. Visit him at

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