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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
BirdfeedersRUs)

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 https://birdfeedersrus.com/ .

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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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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