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Briefs: Feed backyard birds on a budget

Use mosaic to enhance yard

Maybe you discovered on Fourth of July weekend that the patio or lanai needs a little sprucing up. This mosaic table ($90) and onion-topped lantern ($20 to $30) may be just the thing. That table could make repotting and pruning of house plants more fun too. They're at HomeGoods stores.

Keep the birds, your purse fat

Everybody's pinching pennies these days. Here are some ways you can continue to feed the birds on a budget, from the National Wildlife Federation:

• Plant natural feeders that provide seeds, berries, nuts, sap and nectar as well as shelter and nesting places. Get a list of the best plants for your state at nwf.org; click on "Outside in Nature."

• Skip the insecticides. Most birds feed their young insects. Killing bugs means killing a major source of bird food.

• Plant natives that the birds are accustomed to eating. Visit the Web site of the Florida Native Plant Society, fnps.org, for a list of plants.

• Provide water. Even if you can't plant food, you can provide a drink. Change the water in a birdbath every three days to keep it clean and eliminate mosquitoes.

• Put out free food, like solidified bacon grease, in a suet cage or mesh bag.

• Buy in bulk. Avoid seed mixes that are mostly filler; spend your money on the black-oil sunflower seeds that birds love.

• Grow your own. Plant sunflowers, which provide nectar for bees. In the fall, cut the flower heads and hang them in the yard as home-grown bird feeders.

What's in a rose? A name

The name of the rose often leads to a fascinating story. Who are the people for whom roses are named? Writer Molly Glentzer and photographer Don Glentzer share some of those stories in Pink Ladies & Crimson Gents: Portraits and Legends of 50 Roses (Clarkson Potter, $22.50). They profile Madame Isaac Pereire, named for Fanny Pereire, who with her husband, a French financier, fought for laborers' rights. The Captain Thomas rose is named for George C. Thomas Jr., bombardier in France in World War I who later hybridized roses and designed golf courses.

Compiled by Times Homes and Garden editor Judy Stark

Briefs: Feed backyard birds on a budget 07/11/08 [Last modified: Saturday, July 12, 2008 6:55pm]
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