Our birdfeeders attract lots of visitors all summer long. Many are just passing through on their way to distant places, and we enjoy trying to identify them. Audubon Online is a super website for birdwatchers. It contains bird portraits for help in identification, information on conservation, birds and science, kids and education, and more.
Favorite or New Plant
I'm always on the prowl for foliage that acts as a counterpoint to flowers, or even replaces them. At the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, I found a striking combination -- two cultivars of the Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), a mound-shaped, spiny shrub with small leaves and bright red berries.
The foliage of 'Rosy Glow', a deep, intense burgundy mottled with pink, makes a perfect backdrop for the radiant gold leaves of 'Aurea'. This wonderful color contrast lasts all season long.
These two barberries can set each other off nicely in low shrub borders or massed in groups. Both are spreading and compact in habit. Japanese barberry is widely adapted but is most at home in full sun and in soil that is on the dry side.