What joy to look out the window and see monarch butterflies and ruby throated hummingbirds enjoying the plants in my yard. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds thrive on native plants. Hummingbirds are especially crazy about the cardinal flowers, and because cardinal flowers are a pop-up flower* and I am a pop-up gardener they are everywhere one looks in our yard. Where ever you look you see a hummingbird enjoying a native plant. Native plants are now at their peak and bees and butterflies are happy. Because the rainfall has been so heavy this year, many plants are taller with more blossoms than usual. Thriving plants attract thriving pollinators.
Plant and they will come!
*pop-up flower -You never know where they will re-seed and pop-up. I let them grow where they are happy!
Suggestions for easy to raise native plants: 1. Never use chemicals, native plants like compost, but not chemicals. 2. Strive to have plants that bloom in different seasons. 3. Work for plant diversity, and you get a variety of happy pollinators. 4. Native plants are very easy to grow if you put them in a place that meets their needs for sun and moisture. There are natives that will thrive in almost every condition. 5. Native plants are a process, we weren’t born knowing this, it takes time, and you will be surprised by their energy and persistence. 6. Whatever you do to add plants to your yard, be sure to add some milkweed.
Yes, this big lake has a spiritual effect on many of us. I love mornings the as the sun rises and noisy birds are busy with their day. The eagles whistle and screech as they fly along the shoreline. I watch two adults and one juvenile land on a white pine, they sit and watch the lake, and chatter among themselves as they fly away. I wonder what the adult eagles are telling their child about life and survival? The hummingbirds are also active in August. They are eating and drinking and squeaking as they prepare for their journey south. What do they tell their young about the journey that lies in front of them? This all typical of August on Lake Superior
Sphinx moths and many bees are loving my late-blooming pollinator garden. The monarch caterpillars have become chrysalis , and I watch for new monarchs to emerge, and to my excitement they do!
Sadly, August is not like Melanie (above) describes in June. Signs of our warming climate are wearing on this big lake. Canadian wildfire smoke is creating a milky white sky and foggy horizon. Also, blue-green algae has been found along the south shore, probably caused by the yearly hundred year rains in the lake watershed. The watershed streams over-flow into the lake. Heavy rain run-off of lawn and agriculture chemicals causes a nutrient rich brown lake. Along with warm water these nutrients can lead to a blue-green algae problem. After the brown sediment filters out a greener color lake remains that has not been the Lake Superior norm. Read at blue-green algae
This is an exciting time for my yard! At this time of year my yard is overrun by monarch butterflies and hummingbirds. Total enjoyment!
The hummingbirds are gorging on the nectar feeder and on the cardinal flowers, and monarchs are obsessed with the blazing star flowers.
Then just like, that they are gone on a perilous journey, migrating to warmer climes. First the hummingbirds are gone, then a week or so later, no monarchs! I hope they aren’t caught in storms, or hit by cars, and that they all arrive in Mexico or Central America safely.
How can you have monarchs and hummingbirds in your yard? First, never use chemicals. Second, plant lots of milkweed, cardinal flowers and blazing star. Good Luck!
September 2. is National Hummingbird Day! A day to celebrate these amazing birds.
Why are we so fascinated with hummingbirds? Is it their tiny size, incredible energy or maybe it is that we can really observe them close up in comparison to other birds?Hummingbirds love red and bright pink flowers,, and as in this video they will visit absolutely every bloom of a plant they love.
My local newspaper did two stories on hummingbirds this week and I had to share thoughts about these amazing little pollinators. 1. The female raises and feeds the babies all on her own. After June male ruby-throats in the north country, become almost non-existent. 2. Amazing, she builds her nests to expand as her babies grow. Read Val Cunningham’s article and see hummingbird nest pictures here
What can you do to attract hummingbirds to your yard and neighborhood?
1. Put up a feeder, and make your own nectar** 2. Never use chemicals on your plants, and purchase neonicotinoid free plants. 3. Plant colorful flowers like cardinal-flower, and red bee balm.
**From Nature Notes and Jim Gilbert: “Their food consists of nectar and small insects. They will come to sugar-water feeders. I like to use a mixture of one part granulated white sugar dissolved in four parts water to lure them close enough so we can hear the humming sound from their rapid wing beats. Rinse your feeder with water and scrub with a stiff brush to remove any dirt or sticky spots to help halt fermentation and mold growth. Do not add food coloring, some of which is not safe, or honey. Hummers are drawn to colors, so use a feeder made with colorful materials.” Link to the entire article on hummingbirds.