Sunday, February 15, 2015

GGBD and GBBC: Blooms and Birds

Welcome to a very cold Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day here in the heart of the Midwest.  The thermometer said 9 degrees when I woke up this morning, but the windchill was minus 2.  At least we don't have the 30-mph winds we had yesterday, or it would be even colder!  Yesterday I went to my grandson's basketball game--if you can call what second-graders play on the court basketball:)--and the wind swept right through my heavy coat and sent a chill through every bone in my body.

Needless to say, there is no gardening outdoors right now.  I took this photo of the arbor bed a week ago, but since that time most of the snow, other than a few patches here and there, has melted. Compared to last year, we haven't had much snow at all this year, which in some ways is good, but I worry what the fluctuating temperatures this winter might have done to many of the plants without the benefit of snow as insulation.  As you can see, there will be lots to do in the garden once warmer weather arrives.

Although nothing is blooming outside, I finally have a few indoor blooms to share:

Ta-da!  Two of the amaryllis I showed just barely growing last month have bloomed!

I don't remember the names of either of these, because I've had them for a few years.  But considering none of the them bloomed at all last year, I'm just as happy to have nameless blooms.  The third amaryllis has done next to nothing, but two out of three isn't bad.

There are also two new additions indoors:

After admiring orchids on so many blogs for several years, I finally broke down and bought this
Phalaenopsis a few weeks ago while spending the day in Indianapolis with friend Beckie.  I found it at a big box store there much cheaper than I have seen them anywhere around here.

In fact, I was so taken with it that when I found this miniature one, I had to have it, too.  Isn't it cute? We visited several garden centers that day; to my surprise, we weren't the only people crazy enough to be thinking about gardening in late January.

This weekend is also the Great Backyard Bird Count, and I was hoping for some snow cover to bring more of the birds to the feeders where I could spot them more easily.  Despite the lack of snow, we have had quite a few different birds visiting outside my window this past week.

The Red-bellied Woodpecker has been a much more frequent visitor than in past years.

The suet feeder has been attracting all kinds of birds, including throngs of sparrows and even, to my dismay, starlings. I am terrible about identifying the "brown" birds--I think these might be goldfinches in their drab winter plumage, but I'm not sure.  Whatever they are, the Downy-headed Woodpecker doesn't look too happy about sharing with them, does he?

The white-breasted nuthatch likes to hang around here, too, though a little out of focus.

A frequent visitor lately has been the Tufted Titmouse.

He enjoys the suet block, too.

But he also enjoys the window feeder and is one bird who is brave enough to ignore whatever lurks on the other side of the window.  Sasha finds him very appealing:)

Unfortunately, someone else is brave enough to use this feeder, too.  I've had trouble keeping this feeder attached to the window lately . . . I wonder why.

The Great Backyard Bird Count runs through tomorrow, Feb. 16, so you still have time to participate.

For more blooms across the country and world, stop by Carol's at May Dreams Gardens where GBBD is going on its ninth year!


  1. Lovely flowers and birds, too!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

  2. Good for you for doing the Great Backyard Bird Count! My count has been going very slowly this year. We just don't have as many birds as we do in many years. I blame the freakily mild winter we've had.

  3. I love the orchids and it's great you're participating in the bird count! Thanks for all your kind words lately!

  4. Hi Rose, every time I visit your blog I'm struck by your lovely header. What is the yellow foliage? Your house plants make me embarrassed. Now those are house plants. Love the amaryllis. I had some a few years back but I got bored with juggling them so the cats wouldn't eat them and gave them away. Kind of sorry I did that. My sister has orchids and my girlfriends father raised hundreds. I've heard they are finicky so haven't tried them.

  5. Orchids and Woodpeckers. Life is good.

  6. I've had to give up with my bird feeders because of the pesky squirrels :(

    Thanks for your comment over at mine yesterday - it reminded me I'd forgotten to add my new section on Latin plant names. I didn't know chillis might not be an annual plant until I looked up its latin name and found out there were 5 possible species to choose from...

  7. Lovely photos, Rose, especially birds are such cute. I watched the birds as well in Great Backyard Bird Count, they were titmice. It is snow and temps are -10...-15 C, with wins NE here. Cold!!
    I liked your orchids, the last one is unusual, nice color.

  8. I just watched the morning news, and it was full of pile-ups and snow from the Midwest and East of the US, so I didn't know what to expect when I clicked on your link. I'm so excited that you have all your birds, and that you have a Woodpecker too. So cool... Amaryllis and Orchids aren't bad either! :)

  9. Rose, such lovely flowers and birds !
    It's always a pleasure to visit your blog !

  10. Your two amaryllis is lovely, goes very well together in colours too – mine are a bit later as I had to wait for a cold snap and that didn’t come until late November so only then did the leaves from last year die down and I could take them out of their pots and give them their winter rest. Now they are inside, one has already emerged with a flower stalk, the other one is yet to sprout.

    Phalaenopsis’ are so easy houseplants to care for, I have had many for years and I am never without one or several in flower.
    Loved the photo of your cat and the bird, really good :-)

  11. Lovely blooms inside! I adore the picture of Sasha and the titmouse. Too cute! Stay warm. We are getting lots of snow down here but it might miss you all this time.

  12. Those orchids are so tempting, aren't they? I would love to purchase the minis, but haven't had the courage yet - they are pricey (where I live) and I'd worry they'd just die. I have had the bigger ones and they seem to do well. Unfortunately after the blooms finished, I pitched them out and then found out that even if the stem dies, it will regrow later on! (did I learn that here???)

    Your amaryllis are pretty. They perk up a cold winter's day!

    I looked out my living room window this morning to find a brown bunny nibbling on the dried up flower stalks in my yard (looking somewhat like your first pic). Not too juicy or appealing in my opinion and last year I left the green tops from a bunch of carrots for him. He didn't eat them. I wonder why.

    Nice shots of the woodpeckers. How do you keep the squirrels out of the suet feeder? I gave up years ago.

  13. Who cares if you know the name of the plants that are blooming. Right now one can be thrilled with the beautiful colors and forms. I sure don't care about their names. Heck, I forget my own name occasionally. At least that is what Gary says when he calls for me. ;)
    We didn't do the Count this year. Today would have been a good day to do so. We have 8"+ of snow and more is falling. Such is winter. I don't mind. It is funny that when you don't have to get out in it you don't mind it. Happy GBBD.

  14. Poor birds.... the temps have been -20 below so very few the indoors blooms. So colorful for this white winter.

  15. That first photo, with the bench and the snow looks more appealing than it should. We still have lots of snow on the ground, but it's old now, and kind of dirty. But solid as a rock with these temperatures!

    My mom grew orchids for many years --there seemed to be a lot of soil and re-potting necessary, but I've never tried it myself. I did just order some hens and chick, succulent potting soil, and a shallow rectangular pot. Once they all arrive I'm going to have them by a window :-)

  16. I guess it is Amaryllis season! I have one in bloom now, and two about to open very, very soon. Good luck with your orchids. They tend to hold on to their blooms for a very long time, which is nice. I've had some success getting a couple to rebloom in successive years.
    The gray and brown birds are difficult to identify. I think your gray birds are finches, but probably not goldfinches. They may be female house or purple finches. This site may help:
    Try to stay warm! -- Kimberley

  17. Scrap is such a dedicated squirrel chaser that I think he would go crazy if he saw one at a window mounted feeder. Unlike cats, dogs have no dignity or the patience to sit there quietly watching.
    You amaryllis are lovely. I have had terrible luck with orchids. I hope you fair better. The one you purchased is certainly pretty.

  18. Your outdoor garden looks lovely under snow, though I don't personally like the stuff!
    Indoor plants look lovely and the animals a treat to see.
    Bet you can't wait to get out there!
    Maggie x

  19. Lea, Thanks for stopping by!

    Dorothy, I was disappointed in the number of birds I counted this weekend. If we had had a good snow cover, I'm sure there would have been more.

    Rose, We'll see if I can keep these orchids alive:) You have been on quite a journey lately; I admire your strength and wish you a complete recovery.

    Marnie, I should change my header, but I just love this photo. It's Amsonia Hubrichtii and Beautyberry. This fall the Amsonia was just gorgeous and made such an eye-catching backdrop to the Beautyberry. I don't have many houseplants either, thanks to my cats.

    Jean, I love watching the woodpeckers outside my window. I've been happy to see the Red-bellied one become a regular visitor here.

  20. VP, The squirrel has all but destroyed my window feeder--not happy about that:(

    Nadezda, The little titmice have become one of my favorites--they're very curious and often sit on the windowsill looking in. I wish I had gotten a better photo of the smaller orchid--it's more of a pinkish-purple.

    Anna, We have been lucky--all the big snowstorms have passed us by. But we had our fair share last year, so we were due for a better year!

    Ela, Thanks for stopping by--I'm glad you got to see some of our native birds.

  21. Hello greetings.

    Lovely photos of beautiful flowers.

    I loved the photo of red bellied woodpecker. Beautiful.

    Best wishes

  22. Helen, my amaryllis had plenty of time to cool down:) My problem is I never think about them until January or else I would have blooms earlier. I do hope these orchids are as easy to care for as you say!

    Tina, The back of the couch is a favorite spot for the cats and Frank, the pug. They sure enjoy "Bird TV" this time of year. Yes, the snow went south of us this time. We've been lucky this year--it's either hit north or south of us, leaving us with little snow.

    Wendy, I've been tempted to buy a phaleanopsis for several years, but was just too cheap before:) The little mini was actually under $10, so I couldn't pass it up! I haven't seen any bunnies here lately, but if they come out when my tulips come up, I'm going to be awfully mad. So far, the squirrels have stayed out of the suet feeder. They usually don't come too close to the house because of the dogs, but this guy was pretty brave.

  23. Your garden looks just like my garden. :o) As for GBBD, I have a silk orchid that's been blooming for years. Try to contain your jealousy. I like starlings and they're considered endangered in England. They're very intelligent and I love their plumage. Their ravenous hunger doesn't bother me. I just consider them flying teenagers. ;o)

  24. Wow you started to grow the phalaenopsis. They are beautiful and you will see they are very easy to grow. If the flowers are gone and the flowerstem is still green cut back the flowerstem untill 3 eyes from were it started and there is a big chance a new flowerstem apears at the old one. If not a new flowerstem wil apear in a couple of weeks. Your bulb is giving you great flowers. And the birds, they stole my heart so beautiful.
    Have a wonderful week ahead and
    stay warm!!

  25. Happy GBBD! I love your bird photos and laughed at your thwarted cat. The winter landscape is lovely, especially in contrast to the tropical paradise you nurture inside. I'm trying hard not to kill the mini orchid a friend gave to me last fall, but we are down to 2 blooms.

  26. So that's where our red-bellied woodpecker went! Nice Amaryllis - and your orchids are really stunning.

  27. Lucky you to have a Tufted Titmouse during the winter! I only see them in the spring and summer. And how cute that he likes that window feeder--even though the cat is on the other side! Great photos, Rose! Your Orchids and Amaryllises are lovely, too.

  28. Lisa, You are too funny; you know that Beckie and I never forget anything:) We don't have the snow that you do--the last storm all went south of us. I wouldn't mind having a little more snow cover for the garden in this cold.

    Donna, We haven't had as many birds near the house as usual this year. I think they come to the feeders more when we have lots of snow.

    Cassi, I like the purity of the snow when it first falls, but you're so right--it starts to look dirty after awhile. We'll see if I can keep these orchids alive. Succulents sound like a good idea, especially if the air in your home is as dry as ours is.

    Kimberley, You may be right about the finches. It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized that goldfinches turn a drab brown in the winter--no wonder I didn't see them around then:)

  29. Jennifer, If Sophie had seen the squirrel, I might have had chaos in the living room:)

    Maggie, I do like some snow, and I appreciate the winter break from the garden. But you are right--I'm getting anxious for spring.

    Joseph, Thank you for visiting! I've been happy to see the red-bellied woodpecker come to visit more often this year.

  30. Casa M., Yes, I'd forgotten about the silk flowers I've managed to keep alive:) A starling or two doesn't bother me, but it's that they usually travel in packs...kind of like teenagers, now that you mention it.

    Marijke, Thanks for the tips on how to care for the phalenopsis--I'll do my best to keep these alive.

    Sarah, I don't know about a "tropical" paradise inside; I'm really not much of a houseplant person. I can walk right by them and forget they need to be watered:)

    Jason, The red-bellied woodpecker has been here every day this winter; usually he is a much more infrequent visitor. I need someone to explain to me, though, why he's a red-"bellied" woodpecker, when his belly is all white:)

    Beth, This year I have a pair of Titmice that are here nearly every day. They are one of my favorites because they will come on to the windowsill and peek in, not the least bit frightened.

  31. Brr, if you're getting chills Rose, I'm not sure I'd survive! Strange that you're not getting as much snow as usual. It's been an odd winter.

    Those brown birds look like female house finches. The American goldfinch does not have all those stripes. I must have 100 goldfinches in the back yard this morning. They're eating me out of house and home! :-)

  32. The little downy woodpecker seems to be looking disapprovingly at those greedy non-native house sparrows.

    The titmouse is the cutest thing ever.


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