Friday, July 10, 2009

The Summer Garden Draws in a Special Visitor

This has been a week for visits from special winged friends.

At the beginning of the week, the first brilliant red bud of lobelia (cardinal flower) opened. As with foxglove plants, the buds open first at the bottom and them blossom up to the top of the flower stalk. Then I counted a total of 75 stalks of cardinal flower in my garden this year, all with buds which will open later in July.

When the first cardinal flower bud opened this week, I recalled how last summer a hummingbird zipped through the garden as I gazed, and that was the first hummingbird I saw in the garden last year. But I had seen no hummingbirds here this year.

The first hummingbird I saw this year was in April when I visited the Desert Museum near Tucson, and a hummingbird greeted me as I walked to the first overlook. It was not focusing on any particular plant, but rather it hovered in front of me moving horizontally and then vertically, and it really seemed to be welcoming me.

Then the second hummingbird was in Washington D.C. where I went for Mother's Day. I was getting ready to plant the white trillium flower that I had brought from my garden for my mother, and as I prepared to dig a hole in the ground, a hummingbird came and hovered at the very spot I was selecting for the trillium. I was thrilled!

That was it, 2 hummingbirds in 2009.

Then yesterday as I sat resting on the front porch in the late afternoon, a hummingbird took me by surprise and flew into the front yard, hovering near the deep red day lilies. It then flew to the white foxglove flowers, followed by the very fragrant star-gazer lilies, and finally to the yellow rudbeckia (black-eyed Susans). I was so focused that time seemed to slow down, but all of this must have taken less than 20-30 seconds. So I was a bit dumbstruck when the hummingbird stopped to rest on a branch of the 20' tall rhododendron 'bush'. Here it sat for another 20-30 seconds, and then zipped off when I moved to get a closer view.

So now I have seen 3 hummingbirds this year, and am sure to see more as the cardinal flower opens. I'm ready!!

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