Thursday, July 31, 2008

hummingbird garden

We've been living in our new place for a year now and it really is okay - comfortable, spacious, nice view of the woods in the canyon outside the living room window but there are days when I miss my hummingbird garden. The first time we saw one it stopped at a random basket we'd hung just because it was nice to have outdoor flowers after years of no yard and no balcony apartments. We thought it was a dragonfly at first but after a few more visits we realized there really are hummers in the middle of the city.

Over the next eight summers we got good at planting gardens they were bound to love and since we were east facing (with Mt Hood in the distance) we grew flowers that like full sun but some shade as well - fuchsias and lotus vines.

The building was purchased by developers the winter before last and everyone was given 30 days notice to vacate. It was bad enough as it was but thank goodness it was winter since at least the pots were already empty and the hummingbirds used the liquid feeders.

We moved to a little house whose only benefit was that it was still close enough for us to walk to our jobs while we waited for this place to have an opening. The medical students and young doctors come and go in summer.

It's nice but the balcony is tiny, open slat boards with a balcony beneath so the water might drip on heads. No garden but we keep the nectar stocked and even though the balcony doors are over in a corner we hear them buzzing and slurping. Sometimes we even see them - iridescent green with pinpoint black eyes.

We pass the building that had eight summers of hummingbird garden and it's still mostly empty but the hummingbirds came with us.


Seraphine said...

hummingbirds. who doesn't like them? the ones we get are mostly green colored, or blue.
when i water the plants outside, the hummingbirds buzz my head. they are impatient for me to go back inside so they can graze without being disturbed.
the cat next door likes to watch them too. i don't like to think about that too much.
I wish my neighbor would keep her cat inside, but she's nice so i don't say anything.

Randal Graves said...

That's a tiny balcony? You should have seen our old one. Room for a few pots. This is the hanging gardens of Babylon in comparison. ;-)

It's nice to have some green in the city. Sure, it seems that more places are adding green spaces, but something right outside your own window is groovy, too.

okjimm said...

Oh, wow, what Randal said. I miss my garden. my old backyard. no hummingbirds, but I did have a family of saw-whet owls that lived in one of the old pines. I like owls. They always seem to know who is who.

Anonymous said...

susan, perhaps this is no consolation, but out where I live on the South Shore of Long Island, we get no hummingbird visits. They're so cool, too. I love how they hover in the air as they suck the nectar from the flowers. Over hear we're overrun by fowl (geese and ducks), pigeons and seagulls. Osprey and Red-tailed hawks have made a strong comeback here, too, patrolling our skies for those turrist rodents.

Anonymous said...

My computer is now positioned so I can see the wisteria and the kitchen garden. The hummingbirds come and flit around, pause at the wisteria and sometimes even stick their beaks into the mesh bottom of our big, flat feeder. I love to watch them zip around the garden, tasting this or that.

I'm glad your went with you.

susan said...

sera - our hummers would come to make personal visits too when i watered but just try going out there with a camera. i got one really nice photograph in 8 years and one of these days i may find and scan it so you can see.

randal - no, that's the old balcony and it was big. the new one is dinky. we are happy with the chunk of forest though.

okjimm - when we lived in vancouver, bc a huge snowy owl spent a winter day in our plum tree. it really was magnificent and one of the few i've ever seen.

spartacus - when we lived in ri we never saw them so that's why we were so amazed and they stay here year round. when it's cold they go into stasis - which is pretty much what i do too.

dcup - i'm glad to know you see the regularly again. some things have no price.

Mary Ellen said...

My mom had a ton of hummingbirds around her house when she lived in Las Vegas. If I went out and watered the grass or the flowers with a hose, they would come right to the water spray and take a quick shower to cool off. I couldn't believe how close they would get to us, not the least bit shy.

I put out a hummingbird feeder for the first time this year. So, here I've been carefully cleaning and putting in fresh food for them and not one...I have not seen ONE near that feeder. But then my son saw one in the front yard, enjoying the purple flowers on my Hosta's in the front yard, so I know there are some around here. I do have a lot of cardinals and finches around. I have a ton of feeders. I also have a tiny birdhouse that I put in my garden just for decoration about 10 years ago and sure enough, every year we get finches laying their eggs and raising their babies. This year, after the finches left, some wrens took over and had a bunch of, they were so noisy compared to the finches! Now I wonder if the finches will come back next spring.

susan said...

me - I've heard about the desert hummingbirds of the southwest and hear their colors are quite brilliant. I grew up at a little lakeside place north of Toronto where on special occasions in summer we'd see very pretty rufous hummers in my mother's garden. I wonder if those are the kind your son saw. The ones out here are mostly Anna's - they're rather drab until you see them in sunlight when they turn out to be green rather than gray. Your garden sounds wonderful.

Scarlet W. Blue said...

A hummingbird garden? I'm intrigued. How do I get started on one?

susan said...

scarlet - I guess it depends on what grows where you live but we had the best success with standard fuchsias and lotus vines. Honeysuckle was great but it was too much of a mess for a balcony. There's lots of places to get information - I just found this one . Or, you can just stand outside wearing a bright red shirt on a sunny morning and find one at your shoulder. That happened to me once :-)

Seraphine said...

the little birds never hold still, do they?

Ben said...

Well it's certainly a densely grown balcony. No wasted space there. But I'm glad you were able to get custody of the hummingbirds.

Ingrid said...

that's beautiful Susan..I'm starting my big backyard transformation every so slowly but ..surely. I just bought some pots for indoor plants (nasa says they clean the air so why not) and bought two plants that I managed to stretch into several pots..I'm having the urge, finally, the beautify, warm up the house AND's a process though..
It's always neat to see other people's yards or balcony looks like an inviting place to be and that's the whole point of plants..