First Steps With Irrigation

The Johnson Service Corps chose to contribute to the irrigation plan at the Piedmont Patch as their end-of-year Praxis Project, and held a workday onsite on June 15. The nine corps members dug a trench, laid pvc pipe, hooked up a repaired well, installed a new spigot, and built and stained a new well house. Many thanks to Episcopal Church of the Advocate member Zac Hackney for coordinating the project, which will facilitate watering the vegetable garden and other areas of the property. Do you lead a group that wants to do an environmentally sustainable project? We would love to hear from you!

Bluebirds and Brown-headed nuthatches rejoice!

Many thanks to our Piedmont Patch partners, the New Hope Audubon Society! On June 5, two volunteers from the New Hope Audubon Society installed that organization’s generous donation of ten bird boxes at the Piedmont Patch site at The Episcopal Church of the Advocate. Five bluebird boxes were installed on poles and five brown-headed nuthatch boxes were installed on pine trees. Because it is early in the growing season, it is possible that birds may create nests in the new boxes this year. But even if that doesn’t happen, all the local birds will learn the locations of the boxes and use them as shelter from winter weather before the new nesting season next spring.

Church of the Advocate Vicar Lisa Fischbeck listens as New Hope Audubon Society volunteers Tom and Vern explain the bird boxes before installation began.
New Hope Audubon Society volunteers install a pole for a bluebird box. The baffle lying on the ground fits around the pole to deter snakes.
A newly installed bluebird box awaits its first occupants. The New Hope Audubon Society volunteers deliberately installed the boxes at a height convenient for humans to peek at active nests. We were told that short, quiet, and infrequent views of nests and nestlings will not disrupt the bluebirds.
Volunteers from the New Hope Audubon Society install a brown-headed nuthatch box.
An installed brown-headed nuthatch box. These birds live and feed in pine forests, which is why the boxes were installed on pines. Because this bird species nests in February and March, when snakes are usually not active and feeding, these boxes do not require snake defenses.

What’s Blooming Summer ’18

Our Planting Day efforts are bearing flowers! And the bees are all abuzz. Here are some photos taken by a recent visitor to The Patch.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta): This annual and/or short-lived perennial wildflower is a prairie ecosystem native and often pops up in meadows without any help from humans. It is beloved by pollinators of all persuasions, and seed-eating birds happily devour its ripe seed heads. When you visit, look carefully at the dark center of the plant. Often you’ll spot a spider laying in wait for unsuspecting pollinators. Everybody’s gotta eat.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Annual Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella): These native annuals were planted by volunteers on the April 14 Planting Day held this year. They will bloom all growing season, which is appreciated by all pollinators, and their abundant seeds will provide food for hungry birds while leaving enough to sow themselves on the site for next year.

Annual Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella)

Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare): This is a non-native species introduced from Europe that, according to ecologists, is causing problems in some areas by out-competing native wildflowers. We admit that it is pretty, so we’re watching its behavior on our site. If it begins to appear aggressive, we will remove these interlopers and replace them with suitably adapted native flowers.

Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)