Birdbaths at the Ithaca Agway

– Posted in: Hardscaping and Projects, Wishlist

Image of cast concrete birdbathOn April 19th I met my sister in Ithaca, NY. She is a graduate of Cornell University, and has made many visits since then. We were going to the ACNARGS meeting in the afternoon, but first she wanted to show me a few of her favorite places.

One of the places she wanted to take me was the Agway store in Ithaca. In my area Agway is a feed store that is slowly morphing into a lawn and garden store as the farms die away. Sure, you can get a replacement spark plug for your lawn mower, or pick up a flat of pansies–if you’re not fussy about what kind or color of pansies you get. But Agway as a garden destination? I was dubious.

Thanks at least in part to the fact that Cornell is the land-grant university for New York State and has its own agriculture school, Ithaca is a gardening town. It’s actually been a while since I’ve visited our local Agway, but if memory serves, the Ithaca Agway is bigger. The whole back half of the store is devoted to gardening. The seed racks carry selections from Renee’s Garden, Seeds of Change, and Botanical Interests. They had stacks of 1040 seed flats that you could buy by the each, without purchasing a “kit” of cell packs, peat pots and other stuff that you didn’t necessarily need. They had an extensive collection of garden gloves and tools.

More Birdbaths

Image of top view of previous birdbath imageThey also had many of the same birdbaths that I had seen in Austin. These two images are of one birdbath that I don’t recall seeing in Austin. I particularly like the little perching island that enables birds to drink from the center as well as the sides. I also took the time to read the price tags, and discovered that these birdbaths are made by Campania. They make a lot more than birdbaths, in several different styles, but they only sell retail, so you’re only going to see a fraction of what they offer at any given location, though I imagine the retailers can special order something for you.

Image of a terra cotta bird bath with a blue glazeThis glazed birdbath is made by Burley Clay Products. This one is glazed but they make a lot of planters and pots that are unglazed, but look aged. They also make crocks, which is good to know if you want to make old-fashioned pickles or sauerkraut.


The Ithaca Agway also carried sundials by Rome Industries. Sundials are another form of garden art that is at least somewhat functional, which is why both sundials and birdbaths appeal to me. At least, I always imagine having one near the vegetable garden, and if you only wanted an approximate idea of what time it was, you could amble over to the sundial instead of walking all the way down to the house. For it to be accurate, you would have to be able to adjust it for the correct coordinates.

If I could have any sundial of my choosing, I’d like a replica of the one at Yaddo. Well, I’d prefer it to have my latitude and longitude, and instead of saying Yaddo on it, hmmm. Maybe Purdy? I guess I don’t have to worry about it, as I don’t think copies are being made. But I love the intricate engraving and the poem and motto it displays.

There is another cool one at Binghamton University, where you stand in a certain spot and become the gnomon for a human sized sundial.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

~Albert Camus in Albert Camus quotations

Comments on this entry are closed.

Karen May 4, 2008, 10:01 am

Yes, the Ithaca Agway has changed since we were members, but you can still buy hay and chicken feed.

I really like those birdbaths. I’m looking for one at the moment and having little luck in Savannah. We tend to the Colonial in interior decoration, which translates into Baroque in garden statuary. Not my cup of tea.

our friend Ben April 28, 2008, 9:41 pm

Wow, your Agway’s really a few steps ahead of ours! (But we love it anyway.) Thanks for sharing the great finds!

Robin at Bumblebee April 28, 2008, 9:03 pm

This is another sad indication that the farms of our past are dying. Big agriculture is taking over and most people don’t understand the consequences. The fact that this Agway store is now selling pansies is just one visible sign. The invisible ones are much more problematic.

(But nice birdbaths anyway!)

Robin at Bumblebee

Curtis April 28, 2008, 7:39 pm

Very neat birdbaths. I have never heard of Agway but it sounds kinda like our Atwoods down here.

Kathy Purdy April 28, 2008, 7:30 pm

Jim, I’d be the first to admit it’s been a while since I was in the Binghamton Agway. I think the last thing I got there was Grani-Grit.

Jim April 28, 2008, 5:16 pm

I didn’t know the sundial thingy had a name. I can now impress my friends with gnomon.

I always stop in the Binghamton Agway when I’m down that way. It’s just down the hill from my mother’s house. They do have a decent (and usually well-picked-over) selection of plants and garden stuff/junk. That’s where the dwarf fruit trees for my espalier came from and my columnar apple tree.

britt April 28, 2008, 4:08 pm

I believe there was one of those “human sundials” on the boardwalk of seaside OR (could be another town, but i can only think of 2 in OR w/ a real boardwalk)