The Birdbath Garden: March Update

This past weekend was a big work weekend for me.  Not only did I tackled the paths on the garden but I had a couple other projects in mind to accomplish.  One of which was our Birdbath Garden expansion.  This project is also a small memorial garden for our cat Amber who passed away in December.

This is how the birdbath garden started. It began with a small copper birdbath that I attached to a 4″x4″ post that came from an old wooden palette. I stained the 4″x4″ with a cedar stain to improve it’s color.   Afterward I planted a few reliable plants like coneflowers, irises, and coreopsis.  The irises came from my parent’s house and the coreopsis from seed I gathered at my in-laws house.

This is how the garden looked in June of 2008. I added salvias, miscanthus, mums, and a butterfly bush to the mix.  The butterfly bush became a bird favorite for the shelter it provided.  I think I add salvias to almost every garden area, I just can’t get enough salvia!

By July I had added a natural stone border to define the boundaries between the garden and the yard. A purple leaf plum was added but I later removed it as the deer seemed to like it too much. It’s now in a location by the road where I’m hoping the deer don’t find it.

Later in the season I found a viburnum and added it to the garden.  This little spot just keeps growing larger and larger. This picture was taken in the fall and you can see the mums blooming around the edges.  The coreopsis faded too quickly since I let it go to seed way too early. You can keep them going all summer if you deadhead properly. There is also an ‘Appalachian Spring’ dogwood on the other side of the garden that we added. ‘Appalachian Spring’ was developed at the University of Tennessee and is the most anthracnose resistant variety of dogwood bred so far. Too bad it’s not deer proof.

Here’s what it looks like now. It’s not complete by any means but it is well on it’s way.

I added a simple bench area. The seats for the bench haven’t been added yet but they will be soon.  I’m using reclaimed wood from an old deck to make the seats. In fact I also used the same reclaimed deck wood to create an edging for the gravel area to help keep the stones contained. Behind the seat is a rock border made form natural stone we gathered.  We need to collect more stone to complete the border all away around the new section.

Here’s another angle on the bench area. I cleared out the grass in the gravel area then covered with newspapers and landscape fabric. I topped the fabric with a combination of small round stones and pea gravel.  The stumps came from a tree cutting project at my in-laws house last fall. 
When you look at the garden from this angle you can see how large the new section is. Lot’s of room for planting!
At the end of the garden on the left there is a little witch hazel that was given away last year at the Bloom ‘N Garden Expo. The deer grazed on it last year but I’ll let it go for now until I’m sure it won’t make it. It will be fun to see this new area grow throughout 2009!

What still needs done:

  • Planting
  • Finish the bench
  • Add the stone border

15 Replies to “The Birdbath Garden: March Update”

  1. Hi Dave, way to enlarge the area! With your huge space, do you have a long term plan of these little islands becoming connected in the distant future? That is what I would do. It is better to not try to do the whole thing at once, but leave the grass until you are ready, as you have already done, so you already are probably doing this. My neighbors with the large garden had these little beds with grass around that had to be mowed, it was such a time consuming task, but when it was suggested that they join the beds they said they had never though of that and did it straight away. I do hope your witch hazel makes it, such a lovely tree. If you ever come by my way, I will load you up with enough plants to fill many beds. They will fit in your car too, as opposed to others we won’t mention here. 🙂

  2. We’ll have to see what Gail has to say about that. 😉 I do have a plan but I’m keeping that in that mostly in the dark right now. The island beds I’ve made are easy to mow around, I’ve made sure of that! I can say this, the bench has a dual purpose. Once for the garden it’s in and one to watch the kids play. I have another project to show tomorrow that has another area that I converted to garden from lawn to make my mowing life easier!

  3. You have a nice level lot and it is looking great! Lots of room to plant for sure.

  4. I love the birdbath garden. It is just beautiful.

  5. lookin good! keep rippin out that grass!!!

  6. I’m thinkin a nice ornamental tree might look good somewhere around the Birdbath Garden. But of course you wouldn’t want it positioned to block a whole lot of sun from reachin the other plants. You’re doin a great job and I know it’ll continue to bloom into exactly what you want!

  7. Dave, the birdbath garden is looking great with expansion! I like Frances idea of attaching the small islands and that is what I have in mind some day with our yard.

    Your veggies are coming along nicely also! You will have so much to munch on this summer!

    As for the deer, they will find it no matter where you put it. They always do around here, sigh…

  8. It’s looking really nice. It’s great to have new areas to plant in and I bet the birds will love it. Hummingbirds love the butterfly bush in our yard.

  9. Look at how much that area has grown Dave, Wow! I envy all the planting space you will have now in your Birdbath garden. Can’t wait to see how it looks this summer. 🙂

  10. A Serviceberry would be a nice addition!

  11. Dave, Let Frances fill your car up…but make it the In laws! I love that you’ve enlarged the bed and totally agree with Frances. Slowly enlarge and connect the beds! But the girls do need lots of green space to play first! gail

  12. Dave,
    I love to see how your Birdbath
    garden is progressing.

    I am looking forward to pictures
    when all the flowers are in bloom

  13. What a fun post!

    Your birdbath garden, like mine, just GROWED. Mine has a dripping faucet feature that is connected to a hose so it can be disconnected in freezine weather.

    A dripping faucet makes possible elephant ears, crinums, swamp iris and other water hogs, besides delighting the birds.

  14. Hi Dave

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your beautiful cat Amber. I have three, two are really quite old now and I would miss them so much if they’re ever not here.

    Again, sorry.


  15. Beautiful.

    I just moved into my house and I have a rather large front yard and hoped to make a small area for the hummingbirds and butterflies, maybe with two sections of fence set at right angles. I’ll position it to where I can see it from my large window next to my desk, and hopefully provide a nice view from the road as well.

    Great pictorial you’ve done, thanks.

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