Entries in Aldridge gardens (10)


My Life as a Baby Birder

I was warned that bird watching can suck you in, that what begins as an innocent desire to identify backyard birds can become an obsession that sends people on excessive quests to to find illusive species to add to their lists. There is no chance of that happening to me, but after participating in an excursion to view the overwintering cranes who descend by thousands on Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, I was intrigued enough to join a group of birders on a morning walk around Aldridge Gardens

Everyone met in the parking lot, and when I arrived, people already were pointing and scanning nearby trees with their binoculars. Even I could see the flock of cedar waxwings perched amidst the branches of a tree a few feet away. I am a baby to bird watching, and that was as good as it got.

"Look at the Pine Warbler!"

These people know their birds. Everyone swung their binoculars upward and nodded in agreement. I was busy trying to focus in with my binoculars, and by the time I found the right tree, never mind the right branch, the Pine Warbler was long gone. I had similar results with the Eastern Phoebe, the Carolina Wren, and about twenty other birds. I did a little better with the birds gathered around a large feeding station. If a bird was big and brightly colored, it helped. I let out a whoop when I found the Red-headed Woodpecker perched high up in a snag. Canadian Geese are easy! They are huge and easily recognizable.

Turtles are also easy. Of course, they don't don't count as birds, but I enjoyed the sight anyway.

The Camellia Garden at Aldridge Gardens is home to bluebirds. We heard them, but no one caught sight of one. We all admired the Camellia japonicas in bloom.

I spent a pleasant morning strolling through beautiful surroundings, and I enjoyed the enthusiasm of my fellow birders. I think I will have more success with my birding efforts at home. Cooper's Hawks have built a nest on a large branch that arches over the front lawn.I can see them easily from several rooms inside the house. And Bluebirds have chosen the new red birdhouse only steps from the kitchen. Front row seats!

This morning I saw a flock of birds flying over the house. I immediately wanted to grab the binoculars to confirm my suspicion that these were American Robins. Was that a sucking sound I heard?


Hydrangeas at Aldridge Gardens

Aldridge Gardens in Hoover, Alabama, is different from many public gardens where people walk through to see the beautiful flowers.Today I visited the Gardens, and I was struck by how many persons were there to enjoy life. There was a wedding, a birthday party and an outdoor class. I saw someone reading a book under a tree. A couple were holding hands. Children were playing tag while their parents watched from a bench. More children were hanging over the railing at the boathouse, pointing out the big fish. A group who had just walked around the lake were trying to politely shoo the resident geese off the path. I heard laughter and music and bird song. Overall there was a spirit of peace, and it was a gorgeous day in the Gardens.

Of course, there were plenty of flowers to enjoy, and this month the wonderful hydrangeas have begun to bloom. The Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake' is an unusual oakleaf hydrangea with double blooms, and this is the hydrangea that Eddie Aldridge patented and promoted. Now it is grown worldwide.But many other types of hydrangeas also grow in the Gardens. Here are a few views of hydrangeas around the Gardens today.

Ok, I know this last shot does not have any hydrangeas in it, but the goose posed for me and insisted he should be in my blog post.

May this coming week be filled with beautiful flowers and other things that make you smile.   Deb

You may also be interested in these posts: Hydrangea 'Snowflake',  Oakleaf Hydrangea and Young Lovers at Aldridge Gardens.