Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Immersed in their work

Apparently, the best way to keep an eye ON a beauty berry bush...is to keep an eye IN the beauty berry bush.  An adolescent male (a guess due to the territorial behavior) mockingbird has essentially set up shop in this last as yet unstripped fruit bearing beauty berry, Callicarpa americana, on our lot.  He sits there all day until and unless one of us gets too close.  Then, fussing, he retreats, but not far and not for long.
This particular beauty berry bush, planted closest to the house, is typically the last one to have its berries eaten each year. This young bird is quite determined to get his fair share.  Or more.  If he eats them all he'll have to waddle over to the nearest tree.
I am amazed each year at how bright these berries are and though I'd love to have them left on display a little longer, when I see how much the birds, mockingbirds especially, enjoy them?  I am more than happy to share.  Sharing has its rewards, as well.  We have a couple or three bird planted volunteer beauty berries coming up in our spaces.  I consider them the result of a most happy cooperative venture.

When I spotted the tiny scrub snail on this pot I couldn't help imagining it had scootched all the way up the side to see what that white mulch was, scattered all around the tasty succulent.  Then when it got close enough to see the piles of empty shells, it had the snail equivalent of an "oh Sh*t!" moment and fled the other direction.
Some things you are better off not knowing, little snail.
We are still enjoying every cooler morning, not taking a single one for granted, excitedly opening windows to welcome in the gift of fresh air.  This is a wonderful time to be in Central Texas, especially outdoors in Central Texas, and that is just where I'm headed.  The garden beckons.  Hope you are having a lovely Fall as well, wherever you may be.


Tina said...

I have to remind myself that, yes, I did plant the beautyberry for the birds. I love those purple berries and like you, wish the birds would leave them, just a little longer. But birds gotta eat, I guess. Love that little mock--such cheeky birds they are. You enjoy yourself in the garden--I agree that it's a lovely time of year!

TexasDeb said...

Tina: It would be nice if the mockingbirds would draw out their berry eating just a little longer...but I'm betting there are good reasons they eat when they do.

I am feeling virtuous - I weeded! Then my back began to complain and I stopped. But. Part of the path at least is completely weeded. Tomorrow dawns a new day and more weeding will happen. Bit by bit, that path will be reclaimed!

Unknown said...

I love the beautyberry and planted two in my shade tree garden this year. They are small little plants now, so no pretty purple berries this year. I have plenty of mockingbirds, so I also anticipate that once there are berries on the bush, they won't be there for long.

TexasDeb said...

Rebecca: Mockingbirds really like the berries. I'm sure you're right - once they appear and ripen? The birds won't hesitate. I enjoy the bright green leaves that precede the berries. The birds don't bother those.

debra said...

Only this weekend did I see a massed planting of beautyberry in living colour and it really was beautiful. The mockingbirds are acting quite peculiar around here. Fearless and singing their hearts out. Yesterday I was able to get very close to one. He hardly took notice he had so much to say. The snail shot? Priceless.

TexasDeb said...

Debra: In Sept/October, mockingbird males are singing to recruit and then defend mates. Fearless and driven? There is sex in the mix. So, of course!

If that bird ignored you then you must not look "enough" like a female mockingbird to distract it from its mission. Which is not a bad thing actually......