The record breaking summer heat brought many visitors back to our bird feeder which was quiet through much of spring.
Visiting several times daily is family of house finches who drain the feeder rapidly.
Possibly two families... at one point I counted 15 of them. Only a few of them have the "sparrow dipped in raspberry juice" coloring.
Safflower seeds are my preference since they hold less interest for squirrels, but I've also used sunflower seeds which are cheaper. Keeping shallow bowls of water around and occasionally running the sprinkler also brings in visitors.
The house finches are the only new species to visit us. Cardinals, chickadees, tufted titmice, wrens, blue jays and doves are return visitors of whom we saw quite a bit in the winter.
To diversify, I added a hummingbird feeder. So far it's been patronized by ants and the hummers drink from the nearby flowering abelia shrub, but it might be worth it to occasionally see this hairy woodpecker up close.
Not a great photo, but I had to include this shot of one of my favorites, the Buckeye butterfly in the left, middle.
I never cared much for Hackberry trees (Celtis occidentalis), but when I learned about the Hackberry butterfly (above) which uses the tree as it's host plant, I decided they weren't so bad.
By no means an expert, I got in the habit of calling all of these small gray butterflies Hairstreaks, but the family called Blues/Azures has similar markings on their outer wings. A commenter on an older butterfly post recently corrected me.
Primarily due to financial constraints, I purchase most of my plants in the least expensive size. Sometimes I start with perennials in a 4-inch pot or shrubs in a little container called a "one gallon."
This creates a landscape design challenge: one must imagine what the tiny plant might look like if it manages to reach full size and of course, patiently wait for it to grow.
Since I began working on this garden last October, I've been slowly extending the long border beside my neighbor's driveway. I had dug it out to this point (and also moved the dug up pieces of turf to fill in the patchy back yard lawn).
My niece Arden helped me plant the little shrubs in late May: Grayleaf Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster glaucophyllus), Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora), and Texas sage (Leucophyllum frutescens 'Desperado').
Later, I extended the border to include the Texas sage.
The plan is to slowy extend the border in a curve along the edge of the lawn, creating an enclosure with low to medium sized shrubs and perennials which will partially obscure our view of the road.