Tag Archives: seed

Floriforous

Flowering Annuals this summer have been “floriforous” and beautiful. It’s not a “figleaf” of my imagination. A kaleidoscope of flowering annuals have colored our world this summer responding to weather favorable for their growth. Last week I had the opportunity to tour the Ball Seed Gardens in West Chicago. Back in 1905 George J. Ball launched a one man business which today has blossomed into a world leader in horticulture. I had the opportunity to have lunch with Anna Caroline Ball the third generation leader of the family owned Ball corporation. We then walked the gardens and I thought I would share some of the beauty we saw that day.

Ball Seed Gardens

Ball Seed Gardens

Ball Seed Gardens

Ball Seed Gardens

Ball Seed Gardens

Ball Seed Gardens

Ball Seed Gardens

Ball Seed Gardens

Ball Seed Gardens

Ball Seed Gardens

Ball Seed Gardens

Ball Seed Gardens

Feathers ruffled by bird seed prices?

It’s no bird tale that the current economy has been a struggle. Even our feathered friends are feeling the effects as free dining at some feeders has been scaled back. At the buffet line the menu item that fills the bill as a favorite entree is black oil sunflower seed for many birds.

Photo courtesy of Bill Hill

Black Oil Sunflower seed prices have increased over the past year due to a number of factors. Bird feeding is still a popular activity and great form of entertainment. Dollar for dollar, or should I say bill for bill, compare the entertainment the birds provide out your window compared to your monthly cable TV cost. The reason for the increase is that last year’s crop was not great. Planting delays due to the cold, wet late spring we had this year, early frost this fall and limited carryover stocks from last year have made for conditions that are for the birds….well actually not for the birds.

This guy will be looking to raid the bird feeder this winter too (Picture courtesy of Bill Hill)

Backyard birds can feel the pinch at their feeding station buffets due to: 1) Weather issues 2) Higher world wide demand 3) Smaller yields and 4) Crops diverted to bio fuels. In the pecking order of priorities it’s going to be a little pricier to supplement natural food sources at our feeding stations but in my opinion still a good entertainment value investment. Compare the cost to other entertainment options and you’ll find backyard birding is still an affordable entertainment option you can enjoy perched from the comfort of your favorite chair at home! It may be wise to exercise available options utilizing squirrel baffling techniques. One hungry squirrel can quickly hoard the food at the buffet eating you and the birds out of house and home. Another recommendation I would make is to avoid cutting back perennials this fall and winter. Landscaping for wildlife provides fall and winter color in your backyard from both the plant material and the colorful birds. Keep the seed heads on plants like Rudbeckia and the inflorescence on plants like ornamental grasses. Avoid pruning now to keep the rose hips on your roses and the berries on your Viburnums, Dogwoods and Crab trees. Available natural foods will make your bird feeding dollar go further at your backyard buffet this winter!