First step: pull plants for access
The urn fountain, so popular with the birds, suddenly stopped working. Uh-oh. Unlike my usual procrastinating self, I jumped to. The birds were angry.
Temporary urn look: beached whale
Was there a leak? Was the pump malfunctioning? Was it just in need of a clean up? I set up a temporary arrangement for a few hours so the birds could still access a shallow dish of water. This also enabled me to observe the water level to determine if there was a leak in the basin.
Pump worked okay:
No leak. As it turned out, the problem was nothing more than the pump getting clogged up by gunk at the bottom of the basin, gunk that had slowly built up over time. A hasty clean up and reassembly. A Scrub Jay was particularly incensed about the situation, flying in several times to complain. GRAAAAWK! Unfortunately, no time for bird photos.
Bird observations: a hummer arrived, hovering at the exact place and height the urn normally occupies. He hovered, hovered, confused. Baffled. Where's the water? I wonder if hummingbirds work by some internal GPS location rather than by visual clues. The Scrub Jay, in contrast, landed on the dry urn in its beached whale position and looked around, tilting his head this way and that. Then, at me he glared, and GRAAAWK! He likes his bath around 1:00 pm, and I was in the way.
The reassembled fountain refilled with water, the pump plugged in: it worked. Success. It was still working as the sun set, and it was working this morning in both senses--the water was running normally and a cloud of wet birds scattered when I opened the front door to have a look at the urn. All's well again. No more angry birds.
Then time for some replanting.
The rocks that were in the basin to help disguise it need to be cleaned. Yuck. Not today.
I went through the pulled plants. A million 'Fred Ives' to de-stem and re-root. I cleaned up and split up the clump of 'Bella Rossa' daylily.
I dug out the small Gaura that was overwhelmed by its two better watered companions and planted some of the 'Bella Rossa' fans There's already some 'Bella Rossa' on the other side of the largest Gaura that looks great, so more will be better.
A lizard had to stop and investigate. He liked the soil.
The Gaura went here, where it will get irrigated.
Another piece of 'Bella Rossa' went here.
'Fred Ives' is too vigorous for the space. It had become difficult to maneuver around all the plants. I'll try some Sedum 'Coppertone' instead of 'Fred'. The sedum is a slower grower.
A few more pieces of 'Coppertone' to add, a whole lot of 'Fred' to re-root and relocate, pebbles to clean, but it all worked out okay.