Birdhouse Gourd: Acorns and Twigs

birdhouse gourd collage 2014Two summers ago I planted Birdhouse Gourds from seed. Infatuated with the idea of carving my own birdhouses, I imagined a garden filled with nesting birds.

A gardener can dream, can’t she?

Most of the gourds grew to about three inches, then dropped off the vine. By season’s end, two of the gourds reached maturity. I brought them indoors and let them dry for close to a year. They turned a wonderful, spotted brown.

I eagerly drilled an opening in one side, then added holes tiny holes in the bottom for drainage and along the stem. Further reading, however, proved that the opening was too large for any of our native birds. I learned, too, that the height of the nest and its ability to camouflage are important. If all the nesting conditions aren’t met, the nest is a no-go.

So, with nothing to lose, I hung the gourd in the tree and simply enjoyed the view.

Several months later I found the gourd on the lawn. I picked it up to return it to the tree and heard a rattling inside. All sorts of things crossed my mind. Could it be a nest? If it was a nest, why was it on the ground? Since it was on the ground, did another critter disturb it? When I mustered the courage to look inside, I realized it was full of small twigs and acorn-like nuts. Excited about this new and unexpected development, I returned the gourd to the tree, hoping the scavenger might return.

gourd with twigs

Gourd with one of the twigs visible

Alas, I’m still waiting. I’m sure the critter is coming and going, just not when I’m around to see it.

Do you ever wonder what’s going on outside your window as you go about the business of daily life? I’m intrigued by the discoveries of nature at work and wish I had the time to sit undisturbed in a chair so I could focus on the nature around me. Alternatively, wouldn’t it be fun to install a ‘nanny-cam’ outdoors to capture what we missed?

What’s your take on the contents of the gourd? Is it a secret stash? An unfinished nest? Did one of the squirrels tidy up the yard and use the gourd as a rubbish bin? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Birdhouse Gourd: First Snow

 

Okay, not really snow per se, but the birdhouse gourd flower is snow-white. I’m sure the seed packet said something about white flowers, but I’ve been so focused on the gourds to come, that it took me by surprise. I just assumed it would flower yellow, like the pumpkins, zucchini and other members of the squash family.

Not all the garden surprises have been good this past week, but this one’s a gem. I love the delicate petals and the beautiful contrast to the plants green arrow-head leaves. I’ll be keeping a close watch over the next two weeks for signs of emerging gourds.

Have you found any surprises in your garden this week? Please share in the comments below.

White Birdhouse Gourd Flower

Flowering Gourd