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Folsom craftsman creates top-rated handmade birdfeeders with antique glass

See stunning glass birdfeeders at annual Gardener's Market at Shepard Center

Glass birdfeeder
Mason jars and vintage glass are the main components of
Harold Malmquist's stunning birdfeeders. (Photos courtesy

A stash of antique glass became inspiration for a Folsom bird lover. Now, he creates beautiful birdfeeders that have won national acclaim.

Creator Harold Malmquist and his BirdfeedersRUs will be one of the featured vendors at the 17th annual Gardener’s Market,  on Saturday, March 12, at Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park. It’s one of the first opportunities for local patrons to meet the craftsman and purchase one of his handmade feeders since his finch feeder was named best by Birds & Blooms magazine.

Capped with brightly hued vintage glass, the feeders are distinctive. A mason jar serves as the feed holder, attached to a durable metal feeder. Several feeders also have a plate attached to the bottom, acting as a little extra lip for birds to perch.

And birds like it. They see the food in the clear-jar feed holder and quickly make themselves at home.

In his own yard, Malmquist has watched a wide range of birds frequent his feeders including all sorts of finches, sparrows, towhees, doves and nuthatches. He travels with his birdfeeders, too.

“We’re RVers,” he added. “We like to feed birds wherever we go and this design travels well.”

In addition, Malmquist developed a line of pretty hummingbird feeders, each topped with a vintage glass hood.

Although their antique glass decoration looks delicate, these birdfeeders are actually pretty rugged. They can withstand constant visits from feathered friends, and the glass-plate tops seem to be an obstacle for squirrels. (Another plus!)

A traveling salesman with a large West Coast territory, Malmquist collects more glass from estate sales, thrift shops and antique stores up and down the coast. His inventory now includes dozens of popular patterns and a rainbow of colors from cobalt blue to ruby red. Pale blues, soft greens and petal pinks are part of his enchanting pastel collection.

“I’m constantly buying glass,” he said. “They’re not making more antique glass.”

Malmquist’s birdfeeder business started seven years ago with inherited boxes of old glass plates and bowls. He started by making yard art – whimsical glass flowers and sculptures – for his Folsom garden, then branched out to birdfeeders. He tested his designs in his backyard for sturdiness as well as avian appeal.

As they have since his first introduction, birds enthusiastically flock to his feeders and voice their approval.

“I keep the garage door open while I work so I can hear their symphony,” he said. “I do this for the love of the birds.”

When he introduced his creations on Etsy, the birdfeeders just took off. So far, he’s sold more than 3,000, originally under the name Yankee Glass Art and now BirdfeedersRUs.

“And all 3,000 are field tested,” he said. “The design works.”

His feeders are priced from $29.95 and up, depending on the size and glassware used. His hummingbird feeders range from $28 to $65. With antique glass top and bottom, his top-rated finch feeder sells for $89. See more at .

Purple finch feeder
Malmquist's elegant finch feeder is top-rated.

Now his garage is packed with racks of glassware, sorted by color and pattern. He buys his mason jars and metal feeders new, then hand-drills the glass and other components.

Did he ever think he could turn old glass into a bird-friendly business? “Never in a million years,” he said.

Malmquist has been approached about expansion into chain stores or other websites, but he’s declined. “To meet those needs, there’s too much volume,” he said. “It would take the fun out of it. I do this for love.”

Meet Malmquist and see his feeders during the Gardener’s Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at Shepard Center, 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento, in McKinley Park. Admission and parking are free for this event, presented by the Sacramento Perennial Plant Club.

Can’t make it Saturday? BirdfeedersRUs will return to Shepard Center on April 30 for the Sacramento Rose Society show and sale.


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Garden Checklist for week of April 21

This week there’s plenty to keep gardeners busy. With no rain in the immediate forecast, remember to irrigate any new transplants.

* Weed, weed, weed! Get them before they flower and go to seed.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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