Hummingbirds love the yard

I used to faithfully put up my hummingbird feeders as soon as I saw the little guys return, but now with the bears in our area I hesitate to feed them. I have done the next best thing. The bears do not seem to bother my plants so I have developed perennials that blossom from spring to fall to fill the gap.

Now the hummingbirds forage for themselves instead of finding the easy source that the feeders presented. We have always had a lot of hummingbirds. I vividly recall and so do the children the night we all slept on the porch and a hummingbird woke us up by buzzing so closely that we sat up and took notice. Actually there was a pot of flowers right beside where my husband put his sleeping bag and they were tapping that.

I miss feeding the birds. When the feeders were full I had many different species of birds to observe and it was fun. I kept my bird book, a keepsake from my grandfather, nearby to identify an birds that I might not instantly recognize. When I taught school, no matter what grade I taught, I found a place to fit in a unit on bird identification. I was surprised how few birds the older children actually recognized.

My yard has an assortment of perennials, annuals, and shrubs planted in the many beds. I also have an herb bed that also provides some flowers at times. The bees, butterflies, and birds love the blossoms of the chives.

My daughter was pregnant with our granddaughter when we started the perennial beds. I remember the day we went to a perennial farm that she knew about. We took her with us just so she would not be left on her own in case the baby decided to put in an appearance. We got the flowers home and planted, but the baby came just a couple days later.

When my husband and I visited his aunt in Virginia we brought home some seeds for Echinacea, actually the botanical name is Echinacea Purpurea Magnus. We planted them and they took off. Along with the Bee Balm they were an instant hit with the flying population around here. They also made fine specimens for the floral entries that my granddaughter used to enter at the fair.

This is the time that the Hemerocallis Fulva are prolific. The common name for these are daylilies. I do not mean the tame and cultivated variety. I much prefer the orange blossoms of the wild ones. When we did our bed near the road my husband dug up some of the wild ones to plant there because he knew they were some of my favorites. I am soon to have that bed regenerated, but I told the landscapers that the day lilies were to stay. The patch might need to be thinned out a bit. In that case I will simply put some in another spot.

I think what I really like is the thought that each blossom has only a day to catch my attention. There may be multiple blooms on a stalk, but each one blossoms for only a day. My reference book tells me that they can be found from New Brunswick to Virginia. I do not remember seeing any in the section of Virginia that we visited, but maybe the blossoms were gone by the time we visited.

There is also yarrow pink and yellow on one of my beds. I also have coral bells and astilbe for the birds to visit. When I sit on my porch I can watch the birds and butterflies at work. The butterflies and hummingbirds come close enough that I get a good view of them.

My favorite reference book is the “Roger Tory Peterson Guide to Wildflowers”. When the grandchildren were small we carried that book with us to look up the flowers that we saw as we walked up and down the road. I think the part I like best about this book is that the flowers are listed by color so they are quite easy to locate. It was a good exercise for the grandchildren even before they could read. Sometimes after we saw a flower the children would use the book, then draw the flower.

As most of you know I am enthralled with watching nature. When I took the grandchildren home yesterday we saw a mother turkey and her brood. We slowed down so as not to disturb them. We counted at least seven chicks, but there might have been more. They are very small at this point so you just have to watch for movement in the grass.