Songbirds Inspiration (and a new donation pledge!)
There is no shortage of reasons why people love and are fascinated by birds. After all, they are the only living species with the gift of flight, have feathers rather than hair, fur, or scales, and are lucky enough to have the sky as their habitat. It’s all pretty phenomenal and well worth pondering!

 

While I’ve always loved birds, my appreciation for them has increased along with my opportunity for observing them since our move from Brooklyn to Wyoming back in 2016. This past year has marked the longest I’ve been in one place, without traveling for work, in about 20 years. Being grounded allowed me to take in every day of every season, and the chance to celebrate each feathered friend returning to our home as the days warmed. There were periods of time during this year that most human beings felt some level of isolation, fear, and sadness. I believe that in response to those feelings, the ability to absorb nature, regardless of location, became increasingly important, inspiring, and comforting. One of the best things about birds is that no matter where you are, there are birds!

 

Mountain Bluebird
A Mountain Bluebird on Stephanie's deck.
Early last spring, I knew I wanted birds to be a key focus of our Coral & Tusk 2021 Spring/Summer collection because of the impact they had on me at this time last year. They brought such immense joy and happiness to that span of time, even more than usual. Being able to observe new birds, learn their names, migratory paths, habits, habitats, nest types, egg colors, tree and food preferences was a treat. Finding a feather always feels like the ultimate treasure! 

 

Through learning about birds, it is impossible to not recognize how threatened birds are everywhere for a multitude of reasons and that there are upsetting decreases across all kinds of bird populations. These threats are human caused. For all of these invaluable gifts that birds provide us, what can we humans do in return? Of course there is no single answer to this question and there will be a different answer for everyone. Here at Coral & Tusk we will continue to educate ourselves and strive to inspire others to engage in observation and preservation of wildlife and habitat. We will do our small part to support well-rounded organizations that work tirelessly to protect people, animals, and the planet we are privileged to enjoy.

 

Bluebird Nest Pocket Pillow
Bluebird Nest Pocket Pillow in a Cherry Blossom Tree that inspired the design!
We will be donating 10% of 2021 profits from our Songbirds collection to the National Audubon Society. We will make our contribution on Giving Tuesday, November 30th, 2021. The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Learn more about their work here.

 

In the meantime, thank you, and happy bird watching!
 
xo, Stephanie
Jasmine from Black Girls with Gardens shares tips for a successful garden
Earlier this year we were delighted to discover Jasmine Jefferson and the Black Girls With Gardens (BGWG) community on Instagram. We learned so much about cultivating plants from her plethora of posts and gardener spotlights.

 

Today on the blog, Jasmine shares with us three steps to take for planting a successful garden, and we’ve  included resources to help choose the best methods for all your growing needs!

 

We love that part of the mission of Black Girls With Gardens is to create a community garden and we're excited to donate 25% of proceeds from this weekend’s sales (May 21st - 23rd) directly to their cause.

 

 

Jasmine from Black Girls with Gardens image by Natalie Allgyer
Jasmine of Black Girls with Garden, Photo by Natalie Allgyer.

 

Plan & Prepare

The first step to starting your own garden is to make a plan! Jasmine writes, “It’s imperative that you plan your garden out! You don’t have to know everything but you do need to have an idea of what you want to do.” She suggests using a journal to write down your thoughts and to ask yourself what it is you want to grow and think through the what, where, how, and when for getting your garden started.

To learn how to answer these questions and start your gardening journal head to the BGWG blog.

 

Start!

Once you’ve planned your garden it’s time to start planting which begins with soil. Jasmine suggests the following soil mixture: topsoil, compost, and worm casting. She also notes that it’s best to purchase these items from local, independently owned nurseries. “This ensures and gives you the opportunity to ask if ingredients are of good quality and organic. Also, it tends to be more affordable this way.”, writes Jasmine

Starting your garden is also the time to add trellises as needed and to refer to the information you journaled in step one, Plan & Prepare.

 

Maintain

The third step is to ensure your garden thrives by maintaining your plants with organic pest control, utilizing compost as a fertilizer, and harvesting your plants when the time is right! Remember to also ENJOY your garden. Jasmine writes, “Take lots of pictures and document your garden in a journal. Learning what works for you and your garden is the absolute fun part.”

 

 Start a Garden in 3 Steps with Black Girls with Gardens

Image courtesy of BGWG

Read more about starting your own garden on the BGWG website along with gardening tips and shopping guides including 5 Black Owned Seed Companies to Try and How to Prepare an Old Garden

Coral & Tusk Monarch Butterfly Embroidery

Gardening Resources

Planting Guide

Pollinator.org has pollinator friendly planting guides for your region. Enter your zipcode to find out which plants are best for the bees, butterflies and birds in your area. We also previously shared on the blog a few tips for protecting pollinators, check it out here!

Natural Homemade Insecticides

Treehugger.org provides a helpful list of DIY pesticides to use in your garden. Synthetic pesticides wreck havoc on ecosystems and are harmful to insects, animals and the environment. Try one of Treehugger’s natural alternatives for your garden.

16 Black Owned Plant Shops

If you don’t have a space for an outdoor garden, start growing indoors with some beautiful house plants! BGWG has a great list of Black owned plant stores to order plants from online. Skip the schlep and have these leafy wonders delivered directly to your door.

Coral & Tusk Bee and Pansy Embroidery

More About Black Girls With Gardens

BGWG is a collective dedicated to providing inspiration and resources to women of color interested in gardening. Their mission states, “Everything we do is dedicated towards helping our community, Black women in particular navigate their relationship with plants. In turn we hope to help food apartheid areas, eradicate food injustice, help women heal with plants, and reconnect with the land.” Learn more about BGWG here and consider donating directly to their efforts.

 

Get informed about food apartheid in the United States, we recommend Nina Sevilla’s NRDC article “Food Apartheid: Racialized Access to Healthy Affordable Food”. Food insecurity has significantly increased in the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to hit communities in food apartheid areas, even as wealthier communities begin to see a return to normalcy. Consider volunteering for your local food bank or using your own garden for good and become a food bank gardener.