Inside a Birdhouse ~ Patrick Dougherty’s Stickwork!

Patrick Dougherty Stickwork Peabody Essex -5 w ©Kim Smith 2015Today driving along Route 1A I passed the fabulous and fantastic Patrick Dougherty enormous two-story tall birdhouses in the midst of downtown Salem. I did a double take and turned around. They are simply extraordinary. Although a work in progress, it must have been lunch break because the site was empty of people. I would have loved to have met the artist and see the volunteers at work but it was a magical experience to walk through and around the birdhouses with no one present. Especially captivating was peering out from the round windows towards the passersby from inside the structures–evoking the feel of being a bird in its nest. GO SEE!!!!

Patrick Dougherty Stickwork Peabody Essex -10 ©Kim Smith 2015Patrick Dougherty Stickwork Peabody Essex -1 w ©Kim Smith 2015Patrick Dougherty Stickwork Peabody Essex -4 w ©Kim Smith 2015Looking up through the skylight.

“Stickwork” by Patrick Dougherty is under construction, with the help of local volunteers, through May 23rd. The finished structures will remain on the grounds of the Crowninshield-Bentley House for one year. The Crowninshield-Bentley House is located at the corner of Essex and Washington Streets and is owned by the Peabody Essex Museum. “Stickwork” is the first environmental art installation under the museum’s Present Tense Initiative. For more information visit pem.org/stickwork.

Patrick Dougherty Stickwork Peabody Essex -9 w ©Kim Smith 2015The birdhouses are made of saplings from unwanted wood such as Norway maple and buckthorn.

Patrick Dougherty Stickwork Peabody Essex -7 w ©Kim Smith 2015

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Green Heron!

Green Heron Massachusetts Cape Ann ©Kim Smith 2015Male Green Heron

What mystery bird, new to my eyes, was I seeing as it cautiously appeared from the knot of tall reeds? Its neck extended like a heron’s, but was smaller in size than even the Black-crowned Night Heron. I caught a glimpse and then waited for movement, and then waited, and then waited some more when the furtive bird at last flew into a tangle of trees where its shape was unfortunately barely distinguishable. I took a few photos knowing they would be far too grainy to post, thinking nonetheless that a photo would be at least useful for a bird id. Suddenly the mystery bird took flight to the far end of the pond, landing at the water’s edge. I stealthily made my way over and for a few moments had a clear view through the emerging grass and cattails and was able to both film and photograph.

The neck of the male Green Heron is a striking chestnut color and the wing backs are a gorgeous velvety deep greenish-blue gray. As usual, the female’s plumage is more subduedly colored. Green Herons begin to arrive in Massachusetts in May, where they will stay through the summer, dispersing southward in September. The heron’s population is concentrated around inland wetlands and coastal marshes.

From reading several species accounts, the Green Heron’s claim to fame is that it is one of the few animals that utilizes tools to capture prey. It will float a stick or bread crust on the water’s surface to lure small fish, tadpoles, and crayfish. Wouldn’t that be amazing to film! Green Heron’s also eat small snakes, earthworms, and insects.

Green Heron Cape Ann Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

The Uncommonly Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat Warbler ©Gloucester MA -2 ©Kim Smith 2015Male Common Yellowthroat fluffing and drying feathers after his many baths.

Splashing, and then dashing to a nearby tree, splashing and dashing again, and then returning for yet a third bath, this little male Common Yellowthroat seemed to relish in the fresh water at our birdbath. His more subduedly colored mate stayed well hidden and close to the ground and I was thrilled to see them both. This sweet pair of warblers have been in our garden for several days now and perhaps they’ll build their nest here!

Common Yellowthroat Warbler ©Gloucester MA -1 ©Kim Smith 2015Common Yellowthroats were at one time common however, their numbers have been steadily decreasing since the 1960s. Throughout the yellowthroat’s range they are suffering from habitat degradation and loss. Because they live in wetlands and eat primarily insects they, like countless wild creatures, are adversely affected by pesticides and poor water quality.

Common Yellowthroat Warbler ©Gloucester MA ©Kim Smith 2015

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE MARY PRENTISS INN ~ YANKEE MAGAZINE BEST OF!

Tulip Garden Mary Prentiss Inn Cambridge ©Kim Smith 2015The Mary Prentiss Inn was named Yankee Magazine’s Best Inn, Greater Boston Area, and deservedly so!

As many of our readers have come to know from photos I’ve posted here, the beautiful family-owned and operated Inn is one of my landscape design projects.

Tulip Garden Mary Prentiss Inn Cambridge -6 ©Kim Smith 2015Jennifer Fandetti, the Inn’s proprietor, and daughter-in-law of Cambridge artist Charlotte Forsythe and architect Gerald Fandetti, maintains The Mary Prentiss to the highest standards. The welcoming hospitality, combined with the gracious decor of the meticulously restored Greek Revival manor, along with their famously delicious breakfasts and afternoon tea, will make your stay truly memorable. During warmer months guests are invited to dine and relax in the exquisite secret garden.

Centrally located in the heart of Cambridge, and appointed with every modern amenity, when planning a trip to the Greater Boston/Cambridge area I highly recommend a stay at The Mary Prentiss Inn!Tulip Garden Mary Prentiss Inn Cambridge -4 ©Kim Smith 2015

In autumn I mix a special custom collection of spring flowering bulbs for my clients based on their preferences and the architectural features unique to their business or residence. The colors of the tulips in this year’s collection for The Mary Prentiss Inn are simply scintillating and especially beautiful juxtaposed against the warm creamy yellow tones of the exterior paint, emerald green of the boxwoods, and forest green of the hollies. You have to be very cautious in managing the colors though because a symphony can easily become a cacophony!Tulip Garden Mary Prentiss Inn Cambridge -5©Kim Smith 2015

Tulip Garden Mary Prentiss Inn Cambridge -3 ©Kim Smith 2015The orange parrot tulip in the photo above is a very old cultivar. Unlike the vast majority of tulips today, which are mostly scentless, this has a dreamy fragrance of citrus and honeysuckle.

Tulip Garden Mary Prentiss Inn Cambridge -7 ©Kim Smith 2015For more information visit The Mary Prentiss Inn Facebok Page here and website here.11182134_670991599673112_5821006340464767566_n

Please, Please, Please Don’t Feed Our Beautiful Wild Creatures Crappy Junk Food

Mute Swan Cygnus olor ©Kim Smith 2015Mute Swan

Early Sunday morning was spent filming along the water’s edge. It was a gorgeous scene and I observed dozens of different species of wildlife foraging for seaweed, seagrass, seed heads, and sundry other native plants and grasses.

I left for a moment to go back to my car to change a camera lens and when I returned, there was an old woman throwing crackers at the ducks and the shoreline was littered with the unmistakeable bright orange of CHEETOS. Seriously??? First denying she had dumped the Cheetos, she stared mutely when I suggested that it is really not a good idea to feed our beautiful water birds junk food. Wildlife face challenges enough adapting to climate change and habitat destruction; it’s just plain common sense not to feed them garbage. She had her dog with her and I wanted to ask if she fed her dog junk food, too.

cheetos-c2a9kim-smith-20153A bounty of food for wildlife, at this time of year especially, grows naturally along the shores, marshes, and meadows of Cape Ann. If you are interested in feeding a particular avian species, find out what is safe and healthy. For example, the best food for ducks such as mallards are those that provide nutrients, minerals, and vitamins and they include cracked corn, wheat or similar whole grains, chopped lettuce, spinach, and mealworms. The absolute worst and most unhealthy are bread, chips, crackers, popcorn, and it should go without saying, Cheetos.

Why I Love My Prius!

100 boxwoods stuffed – just one of dozens of reasons why I love our Prius!

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Rock on Moms!

Reblogged from Good Morning Gloucester Mother’s Day Post

Family 2Alex and Liv

To all the beautiful and loving Moms, daughters, best friends, sisters, grandmas, and aunts ~

Happy Mothers Day!

cincinnati-country-club-liv-and-alex-hauck-c2a9kim-smith-2013AlexFamily 1Family 4Family 3LIv and Matt snow globe Christmas ©KIm Smith 2014Liv and Matt originalLiv and Matt New Year’s Eve

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