The Farm Girls put on the hot chocolate and took advantage of the winter weather to catch up on paper work, read our gardening books and prepare for spring gardens and spring workshops.  

We have some faithful volunteers that braved the weather this past week and assembled our “Master Gardener” gardening table that was donated by Nature’s Guide as an educational tool.

Students of Garden Inspirations will have opportunity to plant and maintain this wonderful new garden.  

This table garden has many benefits it is small and can conveniently fit into a small backyard or balcony.  

Gardeners with disabilities such as back issues or someone restricted to a walker or wheelchair would be able to easily access this garden, because it is at table height.   

The garden can be planted in vegetables, herbs or flowers, or a combination of all.

Organic gardening offers many benefits to us and the benefits are not limited to just chemical-free food security.  

We continue to be surprised by an occasional tree frog, or the toad that patiently waits for bugs at our front door, or watching all the lizards and the butterflies.  

However, at the FarmGirls Gardens, the bird habitat probably provides the most entertainment from the gardens.   

Our landscape/gardens were specifically designed to attract birds, butterflies, and wildlife.  

The FarmGirls strategically planted a variety of plants that specifically attract birds such as Possum Haw Holly, Pride of Houston Yaupon for berry eating birds and Red Greggii Salvia, Flame Acanthus and Red Turkscap for the hummingbirds while adding dense shrubs such as Eleagnus and Burford Holly to provide nesting opportunities.  

Vines are very attractive to birds and are included in our design.   

Other elements that were included in the planning stages were bird baths and water features to attract our feathered friends.

We feed the birds year round at a feeding station. The feeding station includes a variety of feeders and a variety of food. We provide black sunflower seed, striped sunflower seed, peanuts, millet, grains, fruit and occasional treats of meal worms and suet.  

Our feeding station include platform feeders, tubular feeders, sock feeders and protected feeders in wire cages for the smaller birds. We feed year round to encourage the fledglings to stay on our property.

Our back yard is alive with a wide variety birds.  Whether they are permanent residents or the occasional migrant we enjoy the sights and sounds they provide for us.  

We have frequent visitors of many pairs of red cardinals, the downy wood pecker, red bellied wood pecker, blue jay, juncos, gold finches, sparrows, house finches, black capped chickadees, tufted titmouse, ruby crowned kinglets, robins and brown thrashers.  

Our most entertaining birds are the Carolina wren, cedar wax wings, and blue birds. The most colorful visitors have been the Baltimore oriole, painted bunting and the indigo bunting.   

We love to identify the birds that approach our feeders.  

Digital photography affords us opportunity to skillfully identify markings on the birds and with additional technology available such as the phone app, Ibirdpro an interactive reference for North America Birds.  This tool provides you pictures, range, facts and the identifying bird call.  

We also rely on birding friends like Keith Crabtree.  

Check out this local nature photographer website. His postings include many pictures of local birds on his web site www.ripplesoftime.com.

We want to  encourage you not just to work with nature by providing a pesticide free environment but also, take time to enjoy the benefits and beauty that Mother Nature so freely gives.

Tune into the FarmGirls Organic Gardening Radio Show every Friday on KAAM 770 or www.kaamradio.com Follow us on Twitter: Gardening Family or Facebook: Garden Inspirations visit with us through email: farmgirls@gardeninspirations-tx.com From our garden gates to yours.

FarmGirls of Garden Inspirations, a garden education company based in Waxahachie, are Marilyn Simmons and daughter, Donelle Simmons. You can email us at farmgirls@gardeninspirations-tx.com and join our weekly email by signing up through our website: www.gardeninspirations-tx.com, like us on Facebook!  Tune in every Friday at 1 p.m. to the FarmGirls Organic Radio Show on KAAM 770 AM.