Friday, 25 September 2009

Polka Dot Birds and Autumn Feasts

My front step is a bit difficult to take pictures of .. but it struck me when Martha (from Water Roots) had said what a pretty Autumn flower display I have .. this was my planting from the Spring, but it struck home as soon as she said that, because of the rich colours that were set against the pale grays of the house and step.
I was worried the sweet potato vine might shrivel up and disappear because it would not get much sun at all .. but some how it thought other wise and looked beautiful all season.
I have had my BIG Fall planter of mums and purple fountain grass sitting on the back deck patiently waiting for the "exchange" to happen (with a few near misses aka the shrivel up because you haven't WATERED me yet again thing happening) .. meanwhile all the mums in that planter have been popping and this planter is still looking too good to swap out yet .. the joke is on me ?
So is the case for the heuchera and astilbe, plus many of the other garden plants in the front .. they are in a really good mood ? plant prozac ???
The markings have really come back to life with some cooler weather (not much rain or watering to help them either .. so what gives ?) .. I know one thing for sure, I have to have another red Colourflash astilbe .. this one has been gorgeous, thanks Rose (my friend in Ontario)for putting that in my head : )
Gypsy Dancer Heuchera has also been exceptional .. I love the marbling in the leaf pattern. Whether she dances or not, she is a "babe" in my eyes : )
OK ... I did have to sneak Pinky in one more time ... you know you want to admire him too .. so stop moaning about over exposure .. we all know I can't help myself !
I think he inspired the goldenrod that bloomed more than a few weeks ago into reblooming one more time .. how is that for encouragement ? wink wink nudge nudge ;-)
Now for the "polka dot" birds .. Sophie the "watch cat" clued me in to the activity in our Sumac tree .. she was fixated on the deck door and what was going on in the tree. Some times Sophie get fixated easily .. so I didn't pay attention right away.
I have no idea what these birds are .. tan brown heads with the polka dot wings seem to be the adults .. and boy ! can they strip berries off faster than I have ever seen the Blue Jays do it and that is saying something !
They are probably very common ( sounds terrible when I say it, let alone type it here .. or was that my mind wandering again ?) birds but they are rather pretty.
This seemed to be the "baby" they were trying to teach about gulping the berries back .. he was a bit awkward but VERY enthusiastic ! We all know enthusiasm can make up for the other bits ?
Hope some one can tell me what they are .. other than me calling them "polka dot birds" ? ... next it will be Barney the Dinosaur visiting ...or is that passe` now sigh !
This is part of my haul for some of the Spring Bulb Circle ... I am still waiting for my other part from Vesey Seeds to arrive .. more allium,daffodils,scilla, grape hyacinth .. well .. all sorts of goodies ? .. plus I am ready with the good old reliable bone meal to settle them in for their long winter nap ? .. I know ... shut up about winter .. fine ... be that way ... but Halloween is almost HERE !!!!!!

Did you notice the heathers ? I'm trying one more time and I swear this is the last time even if they shrivel up and leave home again .. last time !! I swear !!


Darlene said...

Your porch planting does look perfect for Autumn with those beautiful colors. Your birds are beautiful....I have never seen any that look like that so I can't wait to hear what everyone tells you they are. Hope you have a wonderful weekend Joy!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely array of plants. I believe those are starlings.

O.I.M said...

i believe your "polka dot birds" are starlings.

those bulbs look wonderful. I'm still waiting for my order to arrive. have never had luck with heathers. never! good luck to you. happy planting.


Gail said...

Joy, The garden shots were spectacular...your swirling, dancing, veining combos are wonderful. Oh, yes on the red astilbe...more of that one for sure. it looks super with the silvers.

Wow on the birds...there is something familiar about them. A cross between a starling and flicker/woodpecker! Wonderful captures, too.


Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Joy! I think your spring planter goes pretty well with the fall palette. Can you find a space for both of them? As for the bird, someone did a good job putting those polka dots on it!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello there Darlene girl again !
Today is WORK in the garden day (tomorrow is HOUSEWORK .. ugh ? haha)
It is amazing how long the front planters have lasted .. I didn't expect that ! .. enjoy your weekend too girl !

Thank you anonymous ? ;-) We thought they were Starlings at first too but the tan heads threw us off a little .. but maybe that is a winter colour for them coming up ?

OIM Irena hello there and you are the second case for starlings now : ).. I am glad not to be the only one that has had crappy luck with heathers .. I have to try one more time though ?

Gail girl .. with a bit of drought we went through and my lack of watering I thought the garden would be very droopy but it is smiling still, phew ! Yes .. the weird starling yet not quite look ? It was fun watching them enjoy the berries I have to say : )

Hi there Tatyana .. I actually have another planter on the other side of the door .. so no room .. and next will be pumpkins and Autumn decorations so "somebody" will have to move ? LOL

Sue Swift said...

Hi Joy,
Certainly starlings. Google them and you'll see.
Just came in to say that of all the categories in the Blotanical awards, you're in the toughest. You deserve to win - but you have enormous competition. Why are Canadian blogs so good? makes me want to emigrate ... So whether you win or not - you have a superb blog.

Linda aka Crafty Gardener said...

Joy, your birds look like starlings to me. They are gathering in larger flocks at this time of the year to head away to warmer climates. It could be a younger starling with the brown head.
Lovely fall colours in your planters.

our friend Ben said...

Hey Joy! Love that red astilbe, have to get it! And of course I'm drooling over all your bulbs. I too had at first assumed your polka-dot birds were juvenile starlings. But like you, I didn't think those tan heads looked quite right. I hope somebody comes on here with a definitive ID!

Pat said...

Wow, you have lots of color. Keep the vines...looking good.
Love the astilbe and coral bells...great foliage !
Starling maybe but too small.
Hmmm potted plants...should sort mine out.

Sheila said...

What beautiful fall colors! You must be delighted when you come home to such a lovely sight!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Sue girl how are you ! Husband and I first thought Starlings too .. but the head colour threw us off a little .. can they strip a tree of its berries PRONTO ! haha
You are very sweet thank you ! But you are right .. the competition is fierce and come on over to Canuck land girl : ) we would be happy to have you !

Hi Linda and thank you !.. the vote is certainly for Starlings .. it was amazing to watch them strip the berries off so fast !
I haven't done the real deal on Autumn decorating yet .. I thought about taking some cuttings of the coleus for indoors .. I better make a note on that ! haha

Hi there "ben" and it seems most bloggers think they are Starlings .. maybe some mixing of the blood line is happening ? LOL
I am just waiting for the rest of the bulbs to arrive then that special circle will be planted and already I can't wait to see how it turns out ! YES !! look for Colourflash astilbe in red .. I know I want more for sure too !!

Patsi .. go sort out your containers girl ! haha .. just about everyone thinks Starlings too .. so they must be ! I did sort of like calling them Polka Dot birds .. might keep that name for them ? haha

Hello Sheila : ) I do love my garden even when it makes me moan and groan and ache from trying to sort it all out : ) I think all of us have that perpetual love affair with our little piece of Eden ;-)

Rose said...

Those are interesting-looking birds; if they are starlings, they look a lot better than the ones visiting here:) My eye was caught by the flash of red leaves--is that the Colourflash astilbe? Darn, I was hoping it was a new heuchera. Astilbe don't do very well for me, but this is one I would love to try.

Your planters look great, Joy--you can't beat coleus for hanging in there and getting better-looking all summer long then showing off some perfect fall color.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Hey Joy, I'm happy to say (brag) that I've seen those lovely displays in person. Lucky me!

Those definitely look like starlings. I had swarms of them visiting in the summer, to the point that the yard was filled with them. I had to take down my bird feeders for a few days so they can move somewhere else. Way too many of them.

Looks like you'll be busy (and have a great time!) with all those beautiful bulbs. I haven't picked up any. I don't think I will this year. I'd like to design the garden first (during the winter) before I start adding bulbs. This week I'm going to spend some time outdoors putting things away in the shed. It's sad, no? Winter is on its way...sigh...

Robin Wrenn said...

They ARE starling, emigrants from Europe via some idiot in New York's Central Park who wanted all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare to be in the New World. We have huge flocks in the US in winter and call them Rat birds or Trash Birds. What you're seeing is their new winter plumage. The white portions of their feathers - the dots - have no pigment in them and this makes the ends of the feathers weaker - so the ends wear off during the winter and they appear black all the rest of the year until they molt again. So you are seeing them at their most colorful. Starling are great imitators - especially the cry of hawks. I rather like them but they are aggressive cavity nesters and will empty out any native birds species nest of eggs and young (which they will eat) and lay their own. Much to the detriment of native species. So birding people really don't like them. But this time a year they are quite pretty and have a very large vocabulary of birds sounds and whistles. A hugh flock of them will fly in close formation like a school of fish - twisting and turning together in the sky and is a beautiful sight to see in fall in the open countryside.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Rose girl it seems like Starlings is the ID so far .. we were stumped ?
YES ! the red variety of Colourflash astilbe .. my goodness why do you have bad luck with astilbe I wonder .. yet you have heuchera ? You have to try this one out girl .. make sure you get the red one .. there is a green one too but I have no idea what it is like .. the red does it for me !! : )
I have to do a post on what type this coleus is .. Henna , I think .. tag hunt to proceed ? haha

Martha girl ! How is Bailey ? LOL .. I still can't get over what a sweetie pie she is : ) I haven't planted the bulbs yet because I'm still waiting for Vesey to show up .. I have this grand scheme in my head .. but heaven knows what will turn out in the Spring ? ..
I worked very hard Saturday to try and clean up the garden beds .. only half done .. but at least the rain is getting to the soil for most of it finally !phew !!

Hello Robin Wren .. VERY cool name by the way ! : )
Thank you so much for all the information .. we couldn't quite nail what they were .. and my friend in the UK also said these are quite intelligent or mimic birds .. YES ! we have seen that "wave" pattern and they do look like a school of fish in sync : )

Northern Beauty Seeker said...

Your heucheras and astilbe are stunning!!

ps. I like your name "polka dot birds" best! :)

gittan said...

Hi Joy, I think your spring planter looks perfect for autumn to with its lovely colours / gittan

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello Ms S and thank you ! I do love heuchera and astilbe .. that Colourflash was a great surprise : ) Yes ! Polka Dot birds for sure , haha

gittan girl hello ! Thank you: )
Yes .. the colours I tried this year are perfect even now .. some ideas I have actually work ? LOL

Frances said...

Hi Joy, your garden is certainly putting on the fall feast for the eyes! Starlings? I would have guessed flicker of some kind, but sounds like they have been identifed. I must have that astilbe! At Lowe's, the Hallowe'en stuff is up, but so is the Christmas stuff. Why can't they wait a little longer on that?

Dawn said...

Love the sweet potato vine, I've had one for a houseplant for over a year now but I think it's a goner.
The birds are beautiful even though they are quicker than bj's, yes! that's saying alot!

wiseacre said...

What a starling development this is. Arrgh. Another reminder I promised to plant a couple hundred bulbs for someone.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hi Frances .. I totally agree with you about "why can't they just let Halloween BE for a while ??" then push Christmas after that ?
Yup ! this astilbe is something else .. I know I will be hunting more of this one down for sure too!

Hello there Dawn .. you had it as a houseplant ! I think they need a lot of light .. but I think I will take a few cuttings of the coleus and see if I can make it a house plant .. sure hope so !

Dear Mr. WiseA** .. isn't IT just that ?!! .. and where are you putting those many bulbs ? wink wink .. better get going .. before you know it the frost will be nipping at some body parts ? ;-)

Kerri said...

Joy, you have some gorgeous leaf color going on there in the container and garden. Those heuchas are gorgeous, and the!
Pinky Winky is truly delightful, and worthy of many post photos! :)
Yes, starlings are what you have...common, greedy and messy, but they are pretty with their spots and irridescent colors.
Isn't that Blue Bedder Salvia the most wonderful color?!!
And they sing a pretty song too.
Our weather is atrocious here today...wet, windy and cold. Makes me want to curl up in a ball and hibernate :( But it is good for visiting blog friends :)

Mary Delle LeBeau said...

Your porch planter is great for autumn. With the short tail and the other markings, I have to agree with the others that those are starlings. You do have a cute name for them, though.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello there Kerri girl : )
Yes .. our weather has been changing so quickly today from sun to rain and wind .. great instigater for migraine headaches .. and curling up into a ball to hibernate too !!
That red Colourflash astilbe is on my wanted list again too .. it has been amazing .. I haven't even done the step for Autumn yet .. with this wind I'm afraid all the leaves will be torn off before the colour show happens .. I think this winter is coming fast on a nasty note girl ? haha

Hi Mary Delle and thank you !
Polka Dot bird is stuck in my brain now ? I think they left for good just before this horrible weather started .. smart aren't they ? haha

Anonymous said...

I'm sad they turned out to be naughty starlings -- they are beautiful. Your colorful leaves look wonderful!

Jacqueline D'Elia said...

What a lovely blog you have and those Polka dot birds are so pretty. I have never seen one before. In Houston, the only bird I see that I truly adore is the Cardinal.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Meredith thank you so much ! .. and yes, the Starling label came into affect with my "polka dot" birds .. oh well .. they were very interesting at the time ? haha

Jacqueline we would love to see more Cardinals : ) It is a rare sight here but maybe if we actually fed them ? LOL .. we really just do the Niger seed for the Goldfinches during Spring/summer .. we are sort of lazy bird watchers ? ;-)

Urban Green said...

Lovely combination of colors.
That bird looks like a starling to me...

Kathleen said...

Your planter is beautiful Joy. I would leave it until the frost gets it, it's doing so well. I guess sweet potato vines perform well in sun or shade??? The textures and colors in your garden are amazing. I marvel at them every time I visit. You've done such a good job combining them. Glad you got your "polka dot birds" identified. I would have guessed starlings as well but may not have been as certain as other commenters. I'm glad they are in your yard and not mine tho ~ I'd have to go chase them off!
You are going to be busy planting bulbs too! I need to buy some bone meal ~ thanks for the reminder. Part of my bulb order arrived yesterday so I'm hoping to plant soon. Good luck with the heathers. Maybe this will be the year??
I don't know what happened with me and vines this year. The Sweet Autumn Clematis on my arbor is alive and grew about six feet at least (way better than Maypop). Then the wind broke the top out and it stopped. Hopefully next year it will go crazy? Maypop is green but still not growing. I'll be watching yours next spring to see what it does. Too bad it was not covered in flowers ~ it would have been spectacular.
PS We're excited for Halloween here too!!! My daughter is on a countdown...

Anonymous said...

Hi Joy~~ It looks like the verdict is starlings. Your photos depict something a little too regal for something so common but I'm not a bird person and don't know anything. ... Teza has mentioned Astilbe 'Colourflash' and I had forgotten about it until I saw your post. It's going on my wish list this second. My history with the genus Astilbe has not been anything to boast about--parched summer soil. But I am getting better about tending to the thirsties. ... 'Pinky' is extremely photogenic and I never mind seeing a new photo, so bring it on sister!

Anonymous said...

Joy~~ I forgot. I wanted to correct myself on a plant I incorrectly IDed on my blog a few weeks ago. You asked about the plants in the patio clay pot area. The deep green is not bergenia as I told you but Acanthus mollis or Bear's Breeches. The two plants on either side of it are dwarf Nandinas. You've probably long forgotten this but each time I looked at this plant combo I would think of you and promise myself I'd send the correct info. So now I've done it. :]

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Thank you Urban Green : )
Yes ! ... the ID is certainly a Starling wave of knowledge : ) LOL

Kathleen girl thank you ! .. Just this morning I noticed they got a little shriveled from the cold weather we are having now .. so I will be replacing them with pumpkins and what nots for Autumn .. I'm afraid we are in for a dreary wet Fall though. I can't tell you about my Maypop vine .. it has taken over the railing of the deck on that side .. I am totally amazed, but the single flower thing is too funny ? LOL
I just finished planting my bulb circle but I have to find a new place for the daffs that are coming .. that circle was smaller than I thought ? haha
I'm sure your vines will leap to life next Spring, so take heart !!

Grace girl, this Colourflash is "red" apparently there are a few types such as a green one .. but the red is what I really like .. you have to have one too girl !
Thank you for telling me more about those plants .. I did NOT forget because some questions and plants stick in my mind and that did ! So Acanthus Mollis ! I have admired them but lack of room as kept me backed away ? .. Nandinas (dwarf) .. I will have to look those up .. I haven't heard of them before and I really liked seeing yours .. probably not zone hardy for us ? but I would have them as annuals anyways, they are so attractive !
Thanks for letting me know Grace : )

cherry said...

Your polka dot birds sure are really cool. love all your fall colors. I bet you are getting excited Halloween is drawing near! hugs, Cherry

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hi Cherry thanks ! Yup .. good old Halloween is the best time of year for me ? ;-)