In today’s Clarion-Ledger, Felder Rushing writes about a garden ornament he received from his cousin – he calls it a “witch ball” (but they’ve got lots of other names) and they’ve been popular in American gardens since the 1800s. The folklore is that, like the bottle tree, they keep evil spirits away.
I bought this one at Kentuck a few years ago:
It hangs from one of the trees in our backyard, and I didn’t realize that it held any special folklore significance until just now when I read the article.
The ball is hanging in the same tree as a couple of birdseed feeders and a suet feeder. We get lots of mourning doves, bluejays, cardinals, finches, woodpeckers, sparrows, robins, and mockingbirds – and our dogs hardly ever bother any of them. They like to sit on the patio and watch the birds eat and flutter around. I think it’s like television for them!
The really neat thing is that we have a small family of ground squirrels who work with the mourning doves to help pick up any spilled seed underneath the feeders, too. One of the ground squirrels has a white birthmark on his back, so I always look for him.