The Rewards of Letting Nature Take Its Course

By early to mid August, our white Japanese anemone are in full bloom. They line the rock wall, taking on more and more real estate with each passing year. They’re considered non-invasive, but prolific bloomers. I’ll say.


September, 2012 Japanese Anemones Line the Rock Wall

The blooms are generally spent by November and the flower stocks dry up and turn brittle. The entire stem pulls up easily, no pruning required.

Last year we had some late bloomers so I didn’t get around to “trimming” them back.

Then I had surgery.

And the wonderful consequence is this:

hummingbird collecting fluff

Female Anna’s Hummingbird Gathering Nesting Material

I wish the photos were clearer but I had to share. That’s a female Anna’s hummingbird gathering Anemone “fluff” for her nest. She’s been back several times to gather more, along with others nesting mammas in the neighborhood. She plucked at the fluff over and over till her mouth was full, then flew back to the nest. One of the Anna’s appears to be nesting in the orange tree. That’s the direction she goes once her beak is full. Another one gathers, then heads to the neighboring pine tree.

Fluffy Anemone Seed Heads

Fluffy Anemone Seed Heads

Earlier in the week I sat still in a chair for half an hour hoping to capture this wonderful event on video. I forgot to close the back door, however, and within minutes, one of the kitties was asleep in my lap.

I could have taken him back inside, but once I was resting there in the warm sun, I found myself “in the zone.” Sitting in my wicker chair in the garden, warm kitty in my lap, watching nature unfold was mesmerizing. Alas, the mama hummingbird didn’t return for her closeups so I had to make do with these blurred pics and the happy memory to go with them.

Oh, and remember what I said about anemones flowering in the fall? Check out this one, flowering away in late February.

anemone bloom february

Anemone Blooming in February

I wonder if the lack of rain along with weeks of unseasonably warm weather is playing tricks on the flower’s programming?

Hummingbirds: Taking Turns

Our hummingbird feeders are draining quickly this week, with several birds taking turns at the feeder.  I hope this means one of the female hummingbirds is nesting nearby. The adults need to eat every twenty minutes. Once the female lays her eggs, she is in constant search of food.

Many birds work in pairs to ready the nest, but not in this case. The male of the species doesn’t stay around to help. A flyby exchange of fluids lasting seconds is all it takes to fertilize the eggs. Then the promiscuous male hummingbird is off.

The female hummingbird lays a pair of eggs at a time. She nests five or six times a season. Tiny eggs are the size of  tic tacs®, laid in a golf-ball-sized nest.  She uses soft grasses and twigs, then wraps the nest with silk from a spider’s web to keep it together.

In addition to eating nectar, hummingbirds consume soft-bodied insects for protein.

While I consider putting my feet up over the weekend, she’ll be hunting and gathering, building and nesting and finally rearing a pair of infants till they fledge.

Head slap: so *that* is how she maintains that svelte figure.

What are your plans this weekend?

Female Anna's Hummingbird

Female Anna’s Hummingbird

Male Anna's Hummingbird

Male Anna’s Hummingbird

What’s in the feeder?

Sugar water. Mix one part white sugar with four parts water and your done. Food coloring is unnecessary and harmful to these tiny birds.