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Create A Hummingbird Garden
May 19, 2014

May continues to fly by.

Even with cooler temperatures and frost and freeze warnings, life continues to flourish.

Yes, spring promises new life, and May is by far my favorite month of the year.

Evan though most plants and flowers are a good two weeks behind normal schedule and many birds are behind schedule, new life is everywhere.

Canada Geese typically start hatching around the first of May around here.

This year is bringing babies the second full week of the month.

Pictured is what I have never seen with a mother goose.

Brooding her babies on a cold day, as one youngster peeks out see what is happening.

I'm sure for our friends along the west, southwest and deep south are dealing with heat and in some places severe storms, drought, and fire.

Still, 'Nature' is going about her business as usual.

Our prayers continue for areas ravaged by storms and fire.

I have several flats of flowers and veggies just waiting to get in the ground.

Some I grew, others we purchased.

Yes, one day this past week was our annual trek to Allandale (west of Grand Rapids) and to a few greenhouse/growers.

The area is a growers Mecca.

We make a late morning and early afternoon of it, while Yolanda
is at Hope Network.

Afterwards we stop off at a little restaurant in the small town of Standale, where they have some of the best Reuben sandwiches.

I know, not the healthiest of meals.

No matter, it's not like we do this every day.

A treat is good from time to time.

Hopefully, I can get some planting done this week.

We continue to be blessed by birds in our yard.

We haven't seen an Indigo bunting for at least 10 years when this little beauty pops up for a photo opp.

Time to get to the task at hand.

Creating a Hummingbird Garden.


How to create a hummingbird friendly garden.

Hummingbird Gardens are easy to create if you follow a few basic guidelines.

Plus, they are fun, beautiful, and can be a low maintenance gardening solution if you set it up that way.

Hummingbirds are found or native only to the Western Hemisphere (North and South America).

It’s estimated that hummingbirds need to consume the nectar from between 1,000 to
2,000 flowers each day.

Taking up around 1½ times their body mass in water each day as they feed.

Sadly, over development and urban sprawl across the continents and across hummingbirds’ migratory routes have destroyed a lot of the natural habitat containing these nectar-producing plants.

We can all help reduce the impact of disappearing habitat by creating a garden that's hummingbird-friendly garden.

It’s easy to do and provides hours of enjoyment as you welcome these tiny but busy, beautiful and entertaining visitors to your garden.

A hummingbird-friendly garden needs four key ingredients - (1) nectar-producing flowers, (2) insects, (3) water, and protection.

Plant Lots of Hummingbird Flowers.


In addition to nectar for energy, hummingbirds also need protein to maintain their bodies and grow new feathers.

They obtain their protein from tiny insects.

Insects such as spiders, mosquitoes, aphids, and gnats are an important part of an adult bird's diet.

Young hummingbirds still in the nest feed on bugs almost exclusively.

Hummers have Specialized Bills and Neck Muscles that help them capture insects while in flight.

They also catch insects from leaves and spider webs.

Often you may witness a hummingbird hovering over a zinnia flower.

This isn't for nectar, they are catching little bugs.

Attract insects for the hummingbirds by maintaining a healthy ecosystem in your yard.

To do this, stop using pesticides.

In addition, they can directly ingest pesticides sprayed onto flowers, which could sicken or kill the birds.

Killing garden pests also kills the small insects hummingbirds and most other birds rely on for protein.

You can help attract more insects to your garden by planting plants that are pollinated by insects.


Almost all birds bathe in water and hummers are no exception.

Sticky nectar left on their feathers makes it impossible to preen them and can even cause them to fall out.

Therefore, providing an appropriate water source for bathing is an important element in creating a hummingbird-friendly garden.

Hummingbirds prefer to bathe in water that's shallow and moving.

A really easy way of providing this is by having a shallow birdbath that's allowed to gently overflow on one side (easy to do by simply assuring the birdbath is not perfectly level) with a catch basin and recirculating pump.

This will attract other birds as well as the hummers, but this shouldn't be a problem.

Hummingbirds also like Misters.

You may also watch a hummer fly back and forth through the droplets of a sprinkler or ruffling feathers on wet foliage (called leafing).

You may want to spray your shrubs and flowers a couple times a day just for this reason.

Trees and Shrubs:

Trees and shrubs also provide nectar producing flowers.

Hungry hummingbirds can also find a meal of tree sap more times than not.

Many of these plants provide not only nesting sights, but nesting materials.

Plant down, lichen, that grow on and from these plants.

Spider webs that stretch from branch to branch not only offer nesting material, but quite often a captured insect and the spider itself become food.

Trees and shrubs also offer protection and a favorite spot to rest and survey their territory (keeping out interlopers and intruders).

Shades areas also provide growing habitat for moss to grow, and moss can be used as a soft nest liner.


Hummingbird Feeders are special designed feeders to attract hummers.

If you can afford to, look for well designed and well made feeders that deter wasps and bees and wont drip.

Look at what I consider to be superior feeders on the link provided and how to maintain them.

That pretty much covers the basics for any hummingbird garden.

Start slowly, and do only what you can afford to do.

These flying jewels will return the favor, with stop what you're doing moments to enjoy these marvels of nature.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

With Memorial Day next Monday, you newsletter will be sent out on Tuesday, May 27.

Please Remember to Honor Our Heroes.

Both Living and Fallen.

Without them, where would we be?

Now your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.

Donald A. Adams

The scripture is full of verses that talk on integrity, and sincerity.

Here are just two of them. "Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways."

Proverbs 28:6

"Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water."

Hebrews 10:22

"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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