Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Post-Christmas freeze browns the garden even more

The garden took another hit last night as the temperature went below freezing again. This morning the birdbaths and even my little backyard fountain were covered in ice. The fountain, though, was very thinly covered and the water was still running.

Our Christmas guests wanted to see my garden, but, unfortunately, I didn't have much to show them that wasn't brown and crispy. I told them they must come back in the summer when things are green and blooming. For now the main points of interest in the yard are the new pond, where the plants and fish seem to be thriving, and the new bottletree which continues to bloom in spite of the frost!

Oh, yes, and there are the birds, of course.

The birdfeeders that have been pretty quiet all autumn have begun to pick up a bit more traffic now that it is winter. The goldfinches are finally visiting the feeders along with the warblers and that makes a difference. But some of my favorite feeder visitors are those who visit all year long, not just in the winter, and among the most faithful of these are the Red-bellied Woodpeckers.

Mr. R.B. Woodpecker loves the peanuts on the feeding table and always goes for them first.

Mrs. R.B., on the opposite side of the table, has more eclectic tastes and will sample a mouthful of whatever is before her.

Woodpeckers are some of the most fun - and easiest - birds to watch in winter. They brighten the gardener's gray and brown landscape with their antics and outsized personalities, and Mr. and Mrs. Red-bellied Woodpecker are just about number one on my list of favorite winter visitors.

I may not have blossoms, but as long as the birds are hungry, I will have some color in my yard and something to entertain me on winter days.

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