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Hummingbird Flowers Part III
June 01, 2010

Welcome new readers.

(Mad Robin fledgling, looks an awful lot like the Famous Mad Bluebird picture).

I hope you had a wonderful Memorial weekend.

I also hope you took a moment to remember and honor all of our heroes.

Because of our heroes, (past and present) we have the privilege of long holiday weekends.

We have the freedoms to choose how to worship our Creator.

We can bless and complain about our our elected officials.

Because of our heroes, we can go to the beach or stoke up the grill.

Because of our heroes, we can plant gardens, enjoy nature and have a hot dog.

A tube of mystery meat cooked on the grill..............................

One of life's pleasures


At least the past week was.

Heat and humidity with a record breaking day or two thrown in for good measure.

We complain about the cold and just like that we complain about the heat.

It is kind of nice, considering we didn't have much of a summer last year.

This is also the beginning of a new month (Can you hardly stand it?) and that means it is time to give all feeders and baths a good cleaning.

I mean a good cleaning, where you get into the nooks and corners.

Snow fuzz continues to fall and drift around

Fuzz from the Cottonwood trees as they release their seeds.

If you are clueless, the pictures to the right show the pods releasing millions of seeds.

Just in time to clog up pool filters.

One of the pictures to your right are the baby Red-winged blackbirds.

If you recall, a couple of weeks ago I showed the nest with 4 eggs in it.

The days have been warm enough that my walks with the fur kids are close to sunset.

My little four legged kids seem to over heat rather quickly, especially Keet.

I do offer water and shorten up the walks with them.

My mom grew German or Tall bearded iris, I followed in her foot steps.

I know they aren't native, and I realize they have a short bloom period, but when they are in bloom, they can put on a show.

They do have a benefit or two.........................

They are rabbit, deer, and woodchuck resistant.

And they are so beautiful when blooming.

Today's letter is a bit long so so I'm going to get right down to business today.

I was in such a hurry to get this letter out last week, I neglected to mention it isn't wise and sometimes illegal to take babies from then wild.

As a child, we tried more than once to domesticate wild rabbits, only to have then die within a few days.

We must put aside old rumors and stories about birds and animals leaving their young if they are touched by people.

The intent of last weeks letter was to show you just how fast wildlife develops for certain species and as a Naturalist, it is often part of what I do.

To study, learn and pass it on.

At Gardening for Wildlife, we are blessed to have some real experts read this letter.

Another one of the experts is Glynda Clardy a wildlife biologist with the state of Mississippi.

Glynda sent me this last week just as I was sending out the newsletter to you.

She mentions Mississippi, but this holds true for all of us I would think.

Thank again Glynda for taking the time to share with the rest of us.

What To Do When You Find A Baby Wild Animal


Glynda Clardy

State Wildlife Biologist

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

It always happens in the spring…I start getting phone calls that someone has found an orphaned baby bird, rabbit, squirrel, raccoon, or deer. It's a common dilemma, but deep down we all know the right answer....A young animal’s best chance for survival is to be raised by its own mother. ONLY after all efforts to reunite the baby with its parents have been exhausted should a possible orphan be removed from the wild! DO NOT try to raise the baby yourself!

Is the baby really an orphan? The most commonly rescued animal is the infant bird, fallen from a nest or grounded in the course of learning to fly (also called fledging). Most would-be rescuers fear a cat or some other predator will find the bird sooner or later. Yet the bird will have a better chance of reaching adulthood if left alone. The most important thing to do is to make sure the animal is truly orphaned. Most baby wild animals do not need our help. Wild mothers frequently leave their babies to either feed themselves or hunt food for the babies. They are usually close by but sometimes will not return if humans are present. Fledgling birds normally spend a few days on the ground being fed by parents. Often well-meaning rescuers pick up and take away healthy youngsters while their parents helplessly watch. A baby's best chance for survival is with its parents. Even if you know the mother is dead, check around for another parent. In some species the father will still feed and raise the babies.

If you are sure the baby is orphaned or is injured, rescue them, but call the nearest state/federal licensed wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian as soon as possible! While most people have good intentions they do not have the skills needed to rehabilitate an animal and successfully return it to the wild. It is against Federal Laws for untrained people to administer aid to injured or orphaned wildlife. Remember wildlife laws are made not only to protect wildlife, but to also protect the general public. A frightened or injured animal can be dangerous or possibly sick with some contagious disease.

(You can always find a list of Wildlife Rehabilitators through your county or state).

Can I Keep It? Despite the odds, if an orphaned or injured animal found in the wild survives under human care, with time it often loses those qualities that made it attractive as a pet. What started as cute and cuddly now is clawed and temperamental. An additional reason to leave animals where you find them relates to territory or home range. Turtles and other reptiles taken from the wild for pets are almost always released at some point in the future when their owners tire of caring for them. The problem then is that unless these creatures are released in the same spot where they were originally found, they will likely suffer in unfamiliar surroundings, sometimes with insufficient food, inadequate shelter, and even new predators. It is illegal in Mississippi and many other states to keep certain species of wild animals in your possession if you don’t have permits, even if you plan to release them. Most migratory and non-game native birds and birds of prey are protected by federal and/or state law and have fines of $15,000 up plus jail time. Even the nests and feathers of non-game native birds, like hummingbirds, and raptors are federally protected.

In the future, when you feel the need to be a “Good Samaritan” to a baby wild animal, just be sure the baby needs to be rescued. Additional information on safe methods to provide care to orphaned or injured wildlife can be found at the following websites:

The links will assist in finding help.

Okay, onto some more hummingbird flowers.

A couple of plants for the desert southwest.

Mexican Flame or Flame anisacanthus (Anisacanthus wrightii):

Bright red-orange tubular flowers appear in late summer and coincide with hummingbird migration. Blooms from July - November.

Zone hardy 9 - 11, elsewhere treat as a n annual.

Native to West Texas and Northern Mexico.

Plants have an erect vase-shape in sunny, low water situations (watered deeply 1 - 2 times per month), or they can be thick and fountain-shaped when watered more frequently (weekly).

Reduce watering to monthly during the winter.

In spring, bare stems sprout new leaves.

Fertilization is not usually necessary.

Desert honeysuckle or Chuparosa (Anisacanthus thurberi):

A thornless, deciduous small shrub, with upright branches rising from the base of the plant. (grows to 4 feet)

Tubular flowers are brick red, sometimes yellow or orange.

Blooms in February through April and again In October - November

Slender seed capsules have a long stalk and when they split open reveal two seeds in each of two chambers.

Zone hardy 8 - 11 (Z7 with Mulch)

Native of Arizona, New Mexico and Northern Mexico.

Full sun to part shade.

Low water use.

Let us move East..................

Here are a couple of native plants for the Eastern half of North America and I'm sure many of you may have at least one of these.

Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia ):

The red buckeye is a small flowering tree found most prominently along the Atlantic coast and eastern section of the United States.

The plant thrives in shade, and the deep red flowering spikes that bloom in early spring are very attractive for hummingbirds.

In fact, the red buckeye is pollinated by ruby-throated hummingbirds, though it will attract all species to your garden in warmer months.

A Deciduous shrub that can grow 12 - 15 feet tall and wide with bright red flowers that bloom in April and May.

Plant in full sun to partial shade.

Hardy in Zones 4 - 8

Medium water requirements and Prefers moist, fertile soils

To keep the hummingbirds coming, you may want to have a batch of Bee Balm growing in your gardens.

Beebalm (Monarda Didyma):

Beebalm is native to eastern North America and typically occurs in bottomlands, thickets, moist woods and especially along streambanks.

A somewhat coarse, clump-forming, mint family member that features tubular, bright scarlet-red flowers borne in dense, globular, terminal heads atop square stems rising 2-4' tall.

Each flower head is subtended by (rests upon) a whorl of showy, red-tinged, leafy bracts.

Blooms in July and August (longer if you cut part of it back in May).

Long summer bloom attractive to hummers, especially when mass planted.

Cultivars have various colors and height, now growing as short as 10 to 12 inches.

Some varieties are better behaved and spread less.

Powdery mildew can be a serious problem, particularly in crowded gardens with poor air circulation, but Cultivars like M.Marshall's delight are mildew resistant.

Provides color and contrast for the perennial border, wild garden, native plant garden, meadow, herb garden, naturalized planting or along ponds or streams. Good plant for attracting hummingbirds to a bird garden.

Hardy in Zones 4 - 9 and native to much of the United states and Canada.

A cousin to M. Didyma is

Wild Bergmont (Monarda fistulosa):

Native to most of North America

Best grown in dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade.

Tolerates somewhat poor soils and some drought.

Plants need good air circulation, as with most Monarda, powdery mildew is an issue.

Blooms July to September offering hummers and other pollinators a rich nectar.

Hardy in Zones 3 - 9

Grows 2 to 3 feet tall and about as wide.

Medium to dry water requirements.

Blooms are pink, lavender or white.

A must in any wildflower or wildlife garden.

Monarda is a serious source of nectar and Hummingbird magnet.

Some Monarda blooms can produce a 50% nectar content.

Now that is a sugar buzz and shoots down the 22.2 to 25% we put in our feeders.

Along with Salvias, Monarda is another must have.

Another native that might be a bit of a surprise to you......................

Currants and Gooseberries (Ribes):

These are dozens of species of currants and gooseberries and probably at least on wild species or Cultivar that suits your landscape needs.

what you may not know is this.

Hummingbirds enjoy Ribes and are indeed a main pollinator for many of this shrubs.

Hanging flowers from red to yellow occur in the spring offering a food source when little else is in bloom.

If you don't care for the berries or fruits, save them for the rest of your birds and wildlife to enjoy.

Yes, these shrubs pull double duty.

Because they are native, they have very few pests and endure your weather conditions.

Shrubs are hardy in many zones, all you have to do is a little research.

A couple of non natives to look at before I close this letter out.

montbretia (Crocosmia ):

All I have known this by is Crocosmia not a common name.

A bulb from South Africa.

Hardy in Zones 5 - 9

Grows 2 to 4 feet and blooms June to August.

Spectacular in a mature display or bulbs of 12 or more.

Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist soils in full sun. Plant corms in spring 2-3" deep and 6-8" apart.

Sun to light shade and other conditions may be required for our certain genus of berry bushes, but they are well worth having for the hummers and for yourself to enjoy.

Corms will multiply over time adding to the beauty of the display.

Foliage that are similar to gladiolus.

The best display I ever saw was in my dear departed mom's backyard.

Mom would sit out there as several hummers buzzed in and around her and the crocosmia.

A non native plant worthy of any hummingbird garden.

Okay, you probably know by now that Butterfly bush and Russian sage both attract hummingbirds and they are red at all.

One thing they offer is late season flowers when many other perennials have pooped out (unless you have Sages and Agastache in your gardens and still blooming strong).

Both are intoduced plants and both can become invasive with little help.

A plant you might be surprised about as a hummer attractor is,

'Black and Blue' Salvia (Salvia guaranitica):

Native to Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina.

It is a tender perennial or subshrub that exhibits a bushy, somewhat open habit with upright, branching, square, dark green stems typically growing 3-5’ tall.

Hardy in zones 8 - 10 however, I have great success wintering over in my Zone 5 Michigan yard.

I simply cut it back for winter and place a garbage or leaf bag full of leaves and place the bag on top.

It is a bit slow to come up from the crown the following spring, but the plant gets bigger and better each year.

To my surprise, when I noticed hummingbirds (Rubies) hanging around and feeding off from this plant with the dark blue flowers.

A true hummer magnet.

Like any good sage, it will bloom from June/July to frost.

I feed mine from time to time.

Plants that bloom all season need extra food.

Plant in a grouping if you have room.

You wont be disappointed by the plant or the hummers it attracts.

There are several good hummingbird plants out there,

Plant in full sun to part shade and give it medium water.

Native Penstemon and Huchera (coral bells) and their cultivars, offer a wide variety of bloom time and color.

Cardinal flower, Phlox and other natives also offer beauty for your gardens and nectar for hummingbirds and other pollinators.

'Gardening For Wildlife' is an exciting and wonderful time and the experiences that Nature provides is pricless.

Still other shrubs and trees offer food and protection (habitat is vital).

If you are limited by space or budget, you can always find something to help attract hummers to your location.

This is the end of this short series on Hummingbird plants unless enough of you request more.

I hope you enjoyed and possibly learned a thing or two.

Happy planning and planting.

Well, It's time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame someone else.

John Burroughs

Thomas Edison failed a good 10,000 times before he discovered the right combination for the light bulb.

He looked at it as learning 10,000 was not to make a light bulb, not 10,000 ways to fail.

The same person that was kicked out of school and told he couldn't learn became our greatest inventor.

He could've played the blame game and had all the excuses or reasons to do so.

Thankfully he didn't.

Successful people are always failing and learning.

Successful people don't play the blame game.

Blaming others is a weak and cheap excuse.

Want to change your life or improve a situation?

Do something about it.

Today, you can choose a different path.

It is too easy to blame a boss or friend, spouse or whatever.

You can choose to change jobs

You can find new friends.

A little more difficult to change spouses

We can't change parents, but we can choose a different life, philosophy, beliefs, habits and so on.

You can do most anything you put your mind too.

If you fall, get up

babies learning to walk do it everyday.

Learning to ride a bike

I'm sure you fell or crashed more than once.

I sure did.

Who did you blame, or did you get up and try again?

Blaming is a poor excuse for not changing or a fear of change.

Playing the blame game is easier than the change game.

But which one makes you feel better.

Which one will you choose?

You are a leader and a positive person

I know you choose to move forward.

It is more fun to learn and grow than to blame and live in fear.

Until next time my friend.

God Bless.

a note of interest.

Blaming others is almost as old as time itself.

Genesis 3. 8 -13

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and the wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?"

And he said, "I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; so I hid myself."

And God said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree which I told you not to eat from?"

The man said, "The woman you gave to keep me company, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate."

Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What have you done?"

The woman said, "The serpent beguiled me, and I ate."

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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