The male house wren arrives in late March and begins to establish his territory. You’ll know he has arrived when you hear him sing. I try to have some birdhouses up and ready early in the spring. The male will select at least three houses and prepare them for his mate. He fills the prospective homes with sticks (mainly from our birch trees, then begins trilling earnestly in a loud voice, trying to attract a female).
When one appears interested she tours each home to select her favorite. Of course, she wants to redecorate by adding soft materials before laying her eggs. The incubation period is 12 to 15 days; when eggs hatch the “symphony” gets much louder.
The new parents bring insects and spiders to their babies. The bantering for each insect is played out over and over all day long. The babies quiet down in early evening, but the adults get little rest as the chicks demand food as early as 6 a.m. After 16 days the fledglings leave the nest, and the mating cycle begins anew as the male starts his trills and screeches in search of a new mate. We look forward to these escapades every year.
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One of my favorite July plants is crocosmia. Its foliage, which resembles a gladiolus, comes up from a corm planted in the fall. This perennial requires little care but should be heavily covered with mulch, compost or straw for the harsh winters. It should be planted in well-drained soil in full sun.
Lucifer is one of the most popular cultivars because of the red flame flowers that spear on the arching stems. Others are Ember Gold (fire red) and George Davidson (bright yellow).
Place crocosmia so that it bursts out of a group of quieter colored flowers. The corms freely increase, and the flower can be used for cuttings.
“There is little risk in becoming overly proud of one’s garden because gardening by its very nature
is humbling. It has a way of keeping you on your knees.
– JoAnn R. Bartwick.