Monday, April 30, 2007

The hummers are here!

The Earthly Gardener by Bobbi A. Chukran
March 23, 2007

Mornin' earthly gardeners!

I’m up early this morning for some reason. It’s still dark so I can’t look out the window to the garden.

I had a thrill yesterday when I was sitting here and heard a distinctive roaring sound go by my window. It was the first hummingbird of the season! That’s always exciting to us here. Like I’ve mentioned before, when we first moved into this house, there were almost no birds that came near the garden. After ten plus years, we’ve attracted numerous new species to the property by adding a water source, plants that birds love, shelter and food. Husband is the official Keeper of the Hummers here, and lovingly boils up a combo water and sugar for them and keep the feeders full and clean. Bacteria grows easily in sugar water, so it’s important to clean out the feeding tubes once a week or so. We don’t like to use the commercial foods out there, because many of them have harmful dyes. The water doesn’t need to be red as long as the feeder has some red on it. Believe me, the birdies will find it!

Thought you might enjoy seeing a photo of a tropical canna that I’m growing in pots here. This is from last year, and just last weekend I divided the bulbs and repotted them into several larger containers. These things multiply fast, and the bright colors also attract hummingbirds.

I also grow a lot of native salvias here, and the hummers love those, too. I have white, but mostly grow the reds and dark pinks. They also go for the rosemary when it blooms, which was a surprise to me. Since discovering that, I’ve planted lots more rosemary, which does well in our Mediterranean-like climate.

Other things that attract the hummingbirds is the red trim on our porch. LOL. Our birds are feisty, and have been known to buzz our heads if we are too late in the morning getting the food out. Although we can’t be for certain without tagging them (and neither of us wants to deal with that) I’m pretty sure that some of the same birds have come back over the last few years, and they bring their friends with them. Last year, we had at least four pair of them that nested here. It’ll be interesting to see how many show up this year.

Happy spring!

bobbi c.
All photos and text copyright ©2005-2007 Bobbi A. Chukran

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