Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! Wildlife in Irvin & Pauline’s garden in California

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Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

We’ve featured Irvin and Pauline Faria’s garden in Carmichael, California, many, many times over the past couple of years, and I always love getting an email full of new photos from Irvin. (Check out their gorgeous garden HERE, HERE, here, here, here, here, here, and here) This time he’s sharing a collection of photos of the various creatures that make their garden their home.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

Irvin says, “Since commencing our garden 50 years ago we have continued to make it more wildlife-friendly. It is allowed to grow freely so we can observe what plants and animals appear. Within the preserve a yearly running creek provides water for drinking and bathing activities.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

Since the garden is organic, a wonderful balance is maintained between insects, insect-eating birds, bees, butterflies, frogs, and mammals. To encourage a variety of visitors, nectar/pollen-producing plants and trees have been strategically placed in the garden. These endeavors have brought us many rewards. A black swallowtail butterfly is seen on crab apple blossoms. The honey bee gathers pollen from a phlox while a bumble bee tastes nectar of an azalea blossom. The Hylephila phylleus (Fiery Skipper) moth enjoys the nectar from an aster. A magnificent black chinned hummingbird extracts nectar from tubular deep violet saliva.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

To attract birds and other water-loving creatures a waterfall was built, which echoes the sounds of falling and splashing water. The beauty of a mourning dove was captured at the base of the fall. A Pacific tree frog often called “Chorus Frog” due to its vocal repertoire has found a permanent home nearby. Throughout the garden bird feeders continue to encourage a diversity of both seasonal and year-round visitors. House finches are often seen sampling black sunflower seeds.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

Wild turkeys are daily visitors in the garden. Hens with their young and prancing gobblers enjoy sharing the safety of the area. When there is an unexpected death of a bird or other animal the turkey vulture soon arrives.

Constantly an attempt is made to achieve a delicate balance between wanting to see nature in the garden, and suffering the consequences of its visits. That includes being somewhat at ease with the appetite of tree squirrels for Japanese maple tree seeds. The same is true for being tolerant of deer for their love of roses in return for close-up views of a seldom seen beautiful regal buck. These visitors contribute to the beauty and joy of our garden.” Gorgeous yet again, Irvin. Enough said.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

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View Comments


  1. kimberlyfawn 08/28/2012

    I always get a chuckle out of those who garden to get close to nature and then freak out when they move in. I'm with you. Celebrate it!.....full disclosure: I have been known to comment loudly over the occasional over-browsing :)

  2. GrnThum 08/28/2012

    Definite thumbs up for your efforts! I garden for birds, bees and butterflies within the confines of my garden fence (too small an area for big guys), but I've had visits from the "garden beast" (ground hog) on several occasions as well as bunnies and turkey chicks. This kind of gardening does leave room for occupational damage, but my motto is....every plant death - an opportunity! It's the wildlife that adds so much pleasure as it really does bring us closer to Mother Nature and there's always something out there to talk to as you're pulling weeds ;~)

  3. Tea_garden_lover 08/28/2012

    Irvin, Your photographs are wonderful. I find that gardening teaches me about taking photos and taking photos teaches me about garden design and to observe details. The critters are a bonus not to be missed. Thanks.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/28/2012

    Irvin, beautiful pictures...beautiful creatures...beautiful are definitely reaping what you sow in the best possible way.

  5. tractor1 08/28/2012

    What a great Nat Geo contribution.

  6. PamWittenberg 08/28/2012

    I could look at turkey babies all day and not get tired of them! Oh, and the frogs, and songbirds, and deer, and, and, and....Great pics!

  7. GardenWhimsy 08/28/2012

    Irv: Your photos reflect the true natural feeling in your've created a wonderful environment for animals and humans alike...a botanical Disneyland. Well done.

  8. greengrowler 08/28/2012

    That buck looks eerily familiar....especially while munching on the daylily! Thank you, Irvin, for the beautiful photos and the reminder that creating a natural environment is most successful when nature's creatures are welcomed.

  9. passwords 08/28/2012


  10. plant_lady_55 08/30/2012

    Spectacular!! Nature knows what it is doing if we let it.

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