Category Archives: Flower Gardening

American Goldfinches Eat Purple Coneflower

I never knew that American Goldfinches eat Purple Coneflower (Echinacea) until several years ago. It was a wonderful discovery to be introduced to these American Goldfinchbeautiful birds with their startling contrast between brilliant yellow and black feathers. Only the males are these beautiful colors. As it often happens in nature, the female is usually subtly colored; I imagine so as not to capture so much attention! Of course in the winter the male loses his bright yellow colors and looks just like the female.


American Goldfinches Eat Purple Coneflower Partially Eaten

Purple ConeflowerI want to add a picture of a Purple Coneflower from the summertime.  So you get an idea what these seed pods used to look like in all their beauty and glory in the summer.

I was cleaning out my garden yesterday.  You know starting to cut out all the dead flower stalks from last year.  I noticed the remnants of the Purple Coneflower or Echinacea flowers. Some were still totally intact, some partly eaten and some completely devoured! I wanted to share these images with you.  The one above is partially eaten.  There are still plenty of seeds on this dried flower bud.  The lighter color that you see is where there seeds have been eaten leaving the under part exposed.  Contrast this picture to the one underneath where the seed pod hasn’t been touched.

Purple Coneflower Seed Head Untouched by the BirdsBy this time of year it is hard to find an intact Purple Coneflower dried flower head.  The birds are ravenous and even though, I have a special American Goldfinch feeder they still eat plenty of Echinacea seeds from the dried flowers.

 Did you Know that American Goldfinches Eat Purple Coneflower?

All Seeds Eaten from this Purple ConeflowerIf you have Purple Coneflowers in your garden and the dried flowers look like my pictures then you know some bird has been eating the tops .  Maybe you already have American Goldfinches visiting your garden.  The last image that I have for you above is a seed top where all the seeds have been completely devoured.  It is an artistic composition as it looks so stark and bereft of seeds! But is also has a beautiful and pleasing shape not like the spiky seed head.

Check out my other post on an American Goldfinch feeder and American Goldfinches eating zinnias from my garden.




Amaryllis Baby Bulbs

This is a continuation of my saga: Growing Amaryllis bulbs.  Now I am interested in growing amaryllis baby bulbs.  I have my original bulb and its baby growing in pots for blooming last spring.   I grew them in the house until the first one bloomed.  The baby bulb grew nice green leaves but no flowers.  The baby amaryllis needed more time before it would bloom, even though it was a nice size.

I repeated what I had done the year before.  The plants stayed on the porch for the summer and lo and behold, the original amaryllis bulb grew three more babies!!!  You can see the size of these magnificent bulbs by seeing the quarter in the picture!  This is not a picture of how they grew.  The bulbs were almost completely buried.  It is a picture of how they looked after they had been dormant for a few months and after I had removed a lot of the soil.

Amaryllis Baby Bulbs

This picture shows the bulbs after I removed a lot of the dirt so I could see how they were connected.  I am  getting ready to separate them and repot them.Growing Amaryliss bulbs

Wanting to Know More I Did Online Research

According to information on the internet I had been doing a few things wrong.

  • I buried the bulbs almost completely.  It says leave 1/3 of the bulb exposed.
  • The pot that I put it into was way too large.  It said leave 1-2 inches around the bulb.
  • My timing was off.  Usually they bloom in December for the holiday season.  Mine were blooming in the spring.

Here is my analysis of “what I did wrong”:

  1. I’m not sure what impact it had on my plants that I buried the bulb almost completely.  This year I will try leaving 1/3 of some of my bulbs exposed.  Then I will see if that makes a difference.
  2. I think that the very large pot was conducive to the bulb producing baby bulbs.  There was plenty of room to spread out!
  3. I don’t think the timing was off for what I wanted .  I wanted spring-blooming flowers, not winter flowers.  This was my personal preference.  The timing enabled my plants to be ready to go onto the porch after all danger of frost had past and after the flowers had died.  The plants got a real growing boost by being in so much sun.

So now I have 5 pots of amaryllis bulbs growing, hopefully the original and its first baby will bloom in the spring.

Check out my YouTube video on Growing Amaryliss Bulbs!