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Hummingbird Gardens
July 09, 2012

Triple digit Temperatures this past week.

Yes, even in Michigan.

Surrounded by water only adds to the air you can wear.

Thankfully the Big Lakes offer some comfort with some cool and wet times.

Bone dry in the Southwest part of the state.

Not only did most of the state farmer lose their fruit crops, it is
getting dangerously close that farmers will lose corn and bean crops as well.

Prayers go out to all effected by the hot and dry conditions, as well as those effected by fires and severe storms.

It has been so hot, the squirrels seem to spend more time trying to find a cool spot than searching for food.

I find myself running a sprinkler simply to help the birds and critters find some relief.

I cannot overstate the importance of fresh water for all animals and for you to stay hydrated.

Side Note: I will be off line Tuesday and Wednesday.

I'm getting a new computer (finally) and it costs much less to have things done at the store than to have the Geeks come here.

I will get back with you when I am up and running again.

It was so hot, the squirrels were looking for any place or thing to feel cool.

Nature provides some relief from the elements.

Furry creatures head for shade or the cool a den my offer.

Resting and conserving energy beats heat most of the time.

Birds have a couple of ways to cool down.

While splashing and standing in a cool source of water helps.........

Most species of birds have a body temperature that runs 8-10 degrees (3.5-4C. I'm guessing) warmer than you and me.

With a warmer core temperature, they wont over heat as quickly.

You may also see birds with their bill open.

Don't fret.

Breathing through their mouth also helps to cool them down.

Another system provided by our Creator is this.

Birds increase the flow of blood in the scaly parts of their legs and feet.

As the blood circulates, heat is released and cooler blood then flows through the body.

Hummingbirds are a favorite topic for many gardeners and non gardeners alike.

I haven't forgotten about of ignored our tiniest avian friends.

There have been many other topics I felt needed to be highlighted.

How important all pollinators are to our style of life.

It is also interesting to understand a bit about these creatures.

There are many garden friends and pests you must share your habits with.

Not to mention some basic care your plants and gardens require from time to time.

Today I am making an effort to write a bit on Hummingbird Gardens.


When it comes to hummingbirds, there isn't a soul I know of that doesn't at least stop to watch the winged marvels in action.

God's perfect helicopter.

Up and Down.

Forward and Backward.


And even upside down at times.

Indeed, the inspiration for the helicopter came from hummingbirds.

Energy levels so high, they almost make you feel exhausted just by watching them.

With a bit of pride, we mention they are unique to the Western Hemisphere and no where else.

Some of us go out of our way to attract the flying jewels to our yards and gardens.

Many still think a simple feeder in the spring, fill it every so often, and the hummers will come and stay.

In the famous words of Lee Corso (college football game day on ESPN).

"Not so fast My Friend."

Hummingbird Feeders do play an important roll, especially in early spring, and for fall migration.

Keep your feeders clean and offer a fresh sugar water.

In the heat of summer, feeders should be cleaned and changed every couple of days.

You can squeeze an extra day or two if your feeders are in the shade like mine are and it isn't oppressively hot outside.

Don't bother filling the feeders full, when you through most of it out.

A small portion of fresh sugar water will do nicely.

When you notice more activity, then you may find the need to fill your feeders.

Sugar water goes bad and also attracts insects, keep an eye on it.

Feeders are good, however the main source of food comes from flowers and small insects.

A Hummingbird Garden provides all the requirements of life.

Food, water, protection, and even a place to possibly raise a family.

Feeders are just a supplement we offer to attract hummers.

The real action is in the flowers and in Nature's ever dwindling playgrounds and habitats.

Your gardens help to make up for the loss in the wild.

Apartment and condo dwellers can attract hummers with a feeder and a few attractive hanging pots. Encourage landlords to plant trees and shrubs if few exist.

Homeowners, once again, while feeders and flowers attract hummers, to get them to stay or hang out most of the day, offer some evergreens for protection, other small trees and shrubs that offer nesting sights, protection from the elements and a place to rest and roost.

A variety of plants and flowers attract insects that hummingbirds require as a source of protein.

Small gnats and other insects are on the menu.

Even mosquitoes are feasted on.

Stay away from pesticides.


Offer up a source of fresh water.

Hummers do indeed require water.

Not all of their liquid needs come from nectar and sugar water.

Not to mention, a fresh splash or bath feels good.

There are such things as little hummingbird baths, but you can easily mount a shallow plate or other object and call it a hummingbird bath.

Run a sprinkler over your flowers and shrubs, and you may witness one of your hummers flying back and forth through the water droplets or rubbing and splashing on the wet foliage (called leafing).

Water Misters are also a can't miss in the bird garden.

Flowers are the main attraction (I provide a pretty good list).

For you and me.

For countless insects

And of course for our hummers.

Though are highly inquisitive, hummers tend to follow a regular route in search of food (called “traplining”) .

When your are selecting flower varieties, keep in mind that hummers are not attracted to fragrance, but rather color and nectar production.

The color red, and to a lesser degree pink, rose, orange, and purple (bright colors that contrast with their backgrounds) are preferred, but not written in stone.

(Hummingbirds enjoy and thrive in my Black and Blue Salvia.)

In planning a hummingbird garden, you'll want to select plants with flowers of those colors, using a diversity of annuals and perennials for continuous blooms.

(Keep in mind that many cultivated hybrids produce much less nectar than their wild cousins or species.)

A mixture of native flowers, shrubs and trees can offer your hummingbird gardens something from spring into fall (just like nature intended).

With the addition of introduced annuals and perennials, there is no reason your hummingbird gardens shouldn't be a blaze with flowers from early spring, well into autumn.

Hummingbirds love islands of flowers where various hummingbird plants are grouped together. We have many flower islands in our backyard wildlife habitat allowing many hummers their own flower island which they vigorously defend against intruders.

Like many bird species, hummers also see in ultra violet and know when a flowers is producing nectar or not.

The lists for nectaring flowers is extensive, and includes many introduced species like Crocosmia (pictured) and Hollyhock, you can find native bloomers that stretch from spring well into fall and flowers that bloom into winter in mild climates.

Here is a basic list of natives that will serve your natural gardens well.

Columbine (Aquilegia) Beebalm or Oswego Tea, (Monarda didyma)
Trumpet Honeysuckle, (Lonicera sempervirens)
Cardinal Flower, (Lobelia cardinalis)
Spotted Jewelweed, (Impatiens capensis)
Red Columbine, (Aquilegia canadense)
Canada Lily, (Lilium canadense)
Indian Pink, (Spigelia marilandica)
Red Buckeye, (Aesculus pavia)
Mountain Rosebay or Catawba Rhododendron, (Rhododendron catawbiense)

The native list continues.

Tall Garden phlox (Phlox species)
Hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus species)
Currant (Ribes family)
Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
Huckleberry (Vaccinium)

Viburnums and a host of native shrubs and trees.

Don't forget these flowers.....

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) , known for its healing powers against Poison Ivy and Stinging Nettle (often found in the same area), Jewelweed thrives in moist, shaded areas and attracts hummingbirds.

Agastache (Hyssop or hummingbird mint) native to the southwest, it blooms from mid summer until frost. A can't miss in any hummer garden.

A. "cana" does well in my Michigan gardens and is a magnet for hummers.

There is at least one Penstemon for every region.

Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium) ads to the summer and early fall garden.

Indian paintbrush (Castilleja Mutis ) spring-summer

Texas sage (Leucophyllum frutescens)

Autumn sage (Salvia greggii)

Black and blue salvia (salvia guaranitica, Pineapple sage (salvia elegans) are both native to Mexico and Central America.

Plants that hummingbirds are very familiar with from their wintering grounds.

Zinnias, also a native of Mexico is a great place for hummers to visit as they look for insects amongst the flowers.

Many garden centers still have plenty to offer and many plants are now bargains.

It isn't too late to find some hummingbird flowers to plant for this year and to plan for the years to come.

A hanging basket of petunias or impatiens will attract hummers.

Red salvia (Salvia splendens) is native to south America and is my favorites annual to plant for hummingbirds.

It blooms early and gets bigger and better as the season wears on.

Red Salvia is always a hummingbird favorite in my gardens.

When our Creator made the hummingbirds,

He not only made the smallest of bird species.

He also provided these magnificent creatures with a set of tools and skills that utterly amaze, even us human beings.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

I hope you enjoyed and maybe learned a bit on hummingbird gardens.

Now for your positive thought for the week.

Until next time

God Bless.

I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.

Billy Joel

Song and music are mentioned often in the word of God.

Song offers praise, worship, romance, gladness

Music and song make the spirit dance and gladdens the human soul.

Song is an intricate part of worship.

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,

Ephesians 5:19

"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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