Bird Raccoon Bath

Some years ago I bought a bird bath and followed all the rules for getting the most bird visitors – like placing a perfectly shaped pan at ground level, and adding stones and a solar-powered fountain.  Sadly, it attracted nothing but raccoons. And the fountain? It sprayed so vigorously, the bath was emptied within a couple of hours.

Becomes Dish Container Garden

So I gave up and turned it into the dish garden above, planted a Little Bluestem grass (it might also be a switchgrass) and some Sedum sarmentosum that I hoped would be a good trailer.  In this photo it looked its best, framed by blooms of Ninebark ‘Ginger Wine.’

Over winter it lost what little appeal it had…. in this high-visibility spot just under my living room window.

Then a Succulent Dish Garden, but How to Water?

So this year I chucked the grass (with roots that completely filled the soil area), replaced it with potting medium for succulents, and then the plants.  (Note: I resist with all my being calling them “plant material.”) They are ice plant (Delosperma ‘Wheels of Wonder’), hens and chicks, and the honestly trailing Sedum ‘Angelina.’  I covered the remaining bare soil with marbles saved from my childhood.

I love it so far but am anxious that I might kill it from over- or underwatering. There’s not much soil in there; the plants are drought-tolerant but how long can they go without water? Conversely, despite the dozen holes bored into the bottom, is there danger of overwatering?

New Bath in the Right Place – Success!

Then about a week ago I decided to try using water to attract birds to my front garden, after giving up on the idea 10 years ago. Seen here in this 2014 photo, I not only had a bath but feeders, too, which all proved to be annoyingly messy and weedy. I was saved from the dilemma of choosing between bird-feeding and less work for the gardener by a very annoyed neighbor who complained that my feeders were attracting whole flocks, which then perched in a tree over her car and pooped on it, apparently copiously.

So it all had to go.

This time I’m trying water alone, with a bath mounted on a pedestal, hopefully less appealing to raccoons.  But knowing that birds might never come to bathe in this location, either, I went cheap. Sooooo cheap.

This bird bath could be had – the very next day – for just $35!  I ditched the little bird doodad and buried the ornate base.  Simplified, I like the look just fine.  Though like the commenters on Amazon, I have a complaint – it’s not very stable, exactly because it’s so cheap and lightweight. So it’s unsteady, despite having the tube filled with stand the base pinned down. But my thinking was that if birds actually used it and if keeping it clean and mosquito-free isn’t too big a pain, I could keep it or spend more for something heavier and give this one away.

But look!!!!! And cardinals started drinking from it within a day!

Now my favorite spot to sit in the morning is on my front stoop, just a few feet away from the bath, watching and listening. My happy place just got even happier.