Time to Clean Your Bird Houses

American-Goldfinch-clip

Many of us have been enjoying feeding the many varieties of birds that come to seed and suet feeders in the winter. It is reported to be the fastest growing hobby for American families and with just a small investment of time and money comes hours of enjoyment for all ages.

Now is the time to think about adding a few bird houses for nesting and cleaning any bird houses you may have already. Clean houses are essential for the health and safety of birds as old nests within the houses attract rodents, insects, fungus, and bacteria that spread through the bird population. Cleaning minimizes the hazard and makes your bird houses more attractive for nesting.

To ensure that your bird houses are as clean and safe as possible for nesting or roosting backyard birds, purchase houses with movable or hinged panels that are easy to clean. Leave clean bird houses up for winter roosting and clean them again in early spring so they are ready for breeding birds. Also clean the post or hook where you have positioned the bird house to remove any pests or bacteria from the area. A few easy tasks ensure a safe and happy home for backyard occupants.

Ferns are Excellent Houseplants

Ferns are excellent houseplants for low light locations. They are strictly a foliage plant, but possess many varieties of color, texture, and habit. Foliage ranges in appearance from delicate and airy to dense and dramatic.

Squirrel's Foot Fern

Rabbit’s Foot Fern

There are ferns with fuzzy rhizomes that reach out of the pot like little feet. Rabbit’s Foot fern is just one such variety with very fine dark green foliage. An elegant bold textured group of ferns is the Bird’s Nest fern with broader leaves and medium green color. Many varieties with different sized leaves add great interest to a room with little light.

Ferns prefer rich, organic potting soil with good drainage. Indirect light is important so ferns do well in a north or east facing window as they are likely to burn in the direct sunlight of a southern or western exposure. High humidity is especially important and varieties like Maidenhair, Staghorn, and Boston fern will suffer without adequate moisture. Misting regularly helps to increase humidity.

Bird's Nest Fern

Bird’s Nest Fern

Boston Fern

Boston Fern

Overfeeding can be problematic. Once a month fertilizing at half strength is adequate. If you have not grown ferns before, start with Bird’s Nest, Holly, Rabbit’s Foot, or Brake ferns. As always, you can count on Waterloo Gardens to provide the help you need to get started.

We have a great selection of ferns in our greenhouse and once you get started, you will want one of every variety!

Valentine’s Day – Where did it come from?

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and while you may feel like this holiday was invented by Hallmark and FTD florists, that is actually not the case. St. Valentine or Valentinus was a very real person who was courageous enough to defy the Roman Emperor. He forbid young men to marry during a time when he needed their military service. This soft hearted priest apparently secretly married a number of star struck couples and may have been martyred for his defense of love. No kidding!

There is probably undue pressure placed on men to perform well for this day of romance and they spend about twice as much as women do to please the one they love. If I were a man I might rebel, but since I’m not let me just suggest that there are many perfect gifts at Waterloo Gardens which are sure to impress your valentine.

Beautiful jewelry is available in our gift department, and gorgeous orchids and many other flowering plants are on display in our greenhouse. You will find many unique gift items throughout the store and the real gem we provide is the help we offer in selecting just the right thing for that special person in your life. When you come in, look around for a bit but then be sure to ask one of our sales associates for assistance. We look forward to seeing you soon so that we can help make Valentine’s Day a great celebration for you!