Posts tagged Goldfinch
Viva Verbena!

DSC_0460My new favorite perennial plant is Verbena bonariensis, also known as Purpletop Vervain. I planted it in mass on one side of my courtyard next to my olive trees and white iceberg roses, and I have really been enjoying it. It is very low maintenance with high "plant appeal."

It is native to South American and has naturalized in California. It does best in USDA Zones 6-10, prefers sun, and little water. It is a tall structural plant, 4'-6' high and at least 2' wide at maturity. Yet it has this airy quality which brings lightness and motion to a garden setting rather than density. It has clusters of captivating lavender-hued flowers that bloom prolifically from summer to fall. It is an incredible magnet for butterflies and delightful birds such as hummingbirds and goldfinch as an added bonus. Verbena bonariensis can reseed easily and aggressively, so be careful where you plant it.


There is even a dwarf version called Verbena bonariensis 'Little One' which reaches 18-24" high by 12-18"wide in size. A good source for both of these Verbenas is Cedros Gardens, (tel) (858) 792-8640, in the heart of Solana Beach's Cedros Design District.

Here are some tips for using Verbena bonairensis in your garden. Plant it in mass like I did, either as a background or in a foreground as it has such a nice "see-through" quality. It pairs well planted among roses, as mentioned in Carolyn Parker's everything rose blog, Rose Notes. Since it takes hot and dry conditions very well, think about planting it in your driest garden spots. I planted Verbena bonariensis "Little One' directly in my pea gravel around my water fountain. It looks like a cheery volunteer, yet adds interest and a dab of color. Or plant it in a dry spot along a flagstone pathway for a little bit of a surprise element for those walking by.

Please share if you have Verbena bonariensis in your garden. Please comment on how you have it planted and styled in your garden.

Let Your Sunflowers Go To Seed

Drop Dead Red Sunflowers This is a new category first called "Garden Economizing", which will offer you wonderful economic and often ecological tips to save you money in your garden, yet enhancing your garden.

Do you grow sunflowers in the summer for flower arrangements? For a dramatic look in the garden? To feed the birds? Yes, sunflowers can become a living bird feeder in your garden....and for a seed packet price.

Two summers ago, I bought the seed packet Drop Dead Red Sunflowers from the Botanical Interests seed company, out of Broomfield, Colorado. See "Meet A Magnificent Mustard", at VintageGardenGal for a previous mention of Botanical Interests seed company. It is a big seed packet for $5.49, net weight 4 grams. Normally, I don't spend that much on seed packets, but their illustration and description lured me in. These "Drop Dead Red Sunflowers" are a beautiful array of various reds, burgundy, and yellow 4'-5' tall sunflowers. Perfect for fall.

I planted my entire "Drop Dead Red Sunflower" seed packet last summer, and they were beautiful in bloom. I let them dry, and go to seed. This spring, some of last year's "Drop Dead Red Sunflowers", reseeded once again, and began another growing season. I was thrilled. After enjoying their long-lasting blooms, I again let these sunflowers dry, and go to seed. This summer, I was rewarded with numerous eye-catching goldfinch every morning feasting in their usual manner, upside down on the bobbing sunflowers.

So for my $5.95 seed packet investment, I have had two growing seasons of sunflowers, and counting, and enough free wonderful natural sunflower seed for my delightful goldfinches to enjoy for a couple of weeks. It is important to note, that In your zone, in your garden, you will attract native wildlife birds to your garden that might not necessarily be goldfinches.

I also hang a year-round goldfinch feeder in our plum tree, for the pure enjoyment of watching these fascinating birds. I regularly fill it up with nyjer seed, a favorite goldfinch seed. Keeping our goldfinch feeder filled can add up, so it helps to supplement their food source with goregous sunflowers grown in the garden.

Add your thoughts, do you grow something special for your wildlife birds to enjoy? Do you have bird feeders in your garden? Do you think letting some of your plants go to seed for the birds, attracts unusual birds to your garden?