I’m a person who often leaves Christmas lights and holiday decor up as long as possible…sometimes too long. I remember the year when I finally went to take down my wreath in the spring and birds had nested in it. Since I couldn’t disrupt the nesting wrens, the wreath stayed on the front of my house through June.
In the late fall I usually move one of my birdbaths up to the covered porch, and put a plastic saucer inside with two blocks of Oasis. Next I cut a variety of greens from the garden and stick them in to make a birdbath topper that stays fresh well into February.
This year I grabbed all the lights from the basement and wound them en-masse around the climbing rose and honeysuckle. For the early part of December the birdbath topper was composed only of garden greens.
After the holidays I decided to spice up the topper by plunking a gazing globe into the greens. Instant fun!
It’s now nearing the end of January but it’s still far too early to put out spring plants in the northeast. Yet today it occurred to me that there is a middle ground between winter greens and lights, and tulips or daffodils. So I decided to give the birdbath a “leaning toward spring” topper.
First I picked twigs from all the shrubs that have early spring interest. I cut grey and black pussy willows, high-bush blueberry, forsythia and red-twig dogwood. To add drama and height I decided to use one of the wonderful expandable willow trellises from Gardener’s Supply Company. I used the small size.
Here are the supplies, grouped around the birdbath that still has the holiday topper in place. I put the globe away and threw out the old greens. I did not re-use the Oasis but put two new blocks in the saucer. It’s important to use a plastic saucer in the birdbath so that you can add water to keep the oasis wet without cracking the birdbath.
After taping the Oasis into the saucer I placed the willow trellis on top. The twigs will ultimately hold the trellis firmly in place. Here is how it looked after I put the pussy willows and blueberry twigs in place.
Before adding the forsythia and red-twig dogwood I put in just enough greens to hide the Oasis. Since I wanted this to look spring-like, not like the winter holidays, I avoided pine and holly. I chose sprigs of Golden Mop Chamaecyparis and some Pieris ‘Dorothy Wyckoff”
After the Forsythia and red-twig dogwood branches went in I decided that the top needed an ornament. I tried a tin watering can but that was too large. Next I put this glass ball on top and it was OK but not quite what I wanted. So I went down into the basement to rummage in my craft supplies.
Among my craft supplies I found this dried dipper gourd that I grew last year. Perfect! The stem hangs down into the trellis holding it in place, and the natural look fits in with the other materials. And since it’s filled with gourd seeds, it’s symbolically perfect for spring!
The finishing touch was to string some outdoor LED micro-lights around the trellis. Why should tiny lights be confined to the Christmas season? These lights are battery operated and go off after 6 hours!
I also got the micro-lights from Gardener’s Supply Company. They stay on for six hours, turn off, and then come on at the same time the next day. The perfect way to lure in Spring.
I will keep the Oasis wet in this birdbath topper. My hope is that the pussy willows, forsythia and blueberries will respond with opening buds. I’ll keep you posted.