Fat Hummingbirds and Wild Beds

Earlier this year, a friend asked:

How do you measure time?

I did not miss a beat. I measure time in flowers. From the fading amaryllis bulbs in January to bloom-heavy limbs of a Christmas cactus in December, I have something sprouting, flowering, or dropping petals all year long. Inside and outside.

Based on the square footage of the gardening center at any big box store in America, I am sure I am not alone in this. Usually, sometime in March, I begin to question my life choices, wonder why and how it is I never got a degree in horticulture, and imagine that my husband and I could run a kick-ass nursery when he “retires” and needs something to keep himself busy. (Nice of me to be looking out for him, I know.) Then, of course there is the flip side.

Sometime in August, the flowers I have so faithfully tended begin to defy all my efforts at “control”. They overtake walking paths, they brush up against the bottom branches of my carefully placed young trees, they climb, tangle, sprawl – they go wild. And I? I get tired. I begin counting the days until I can cut, pull, pile and clean out the beds, making way for pumpkins and scarecrows and straw bales.

At last, that time is here and I am READY!

But, the birds and insects who share my yard are not. As long as it remains warm enough, migrating creatures linger in my yard, getting, possibly, their last full meal before they make a very perilous journey. I remind myself that as much as I love my gardens, I do this work because my yard is important habitat for birds and insects. So, I wait. Longer than I want to. And, in the waiting, I find enough reasons to be patient…

Preying mantis positioned for a kill

And reasons to write…

When I’ve seen my last fat hummingbird of the season, I know it’s time to take down the feeders, untangle the vines, and set out pumpkins. All the while I will hope those little specks of emerald and ruby have had a warm tailwind and a safe landing. And I know to look for them again next spring – when my azaleas are in bloom!

Happy fall to you! Go out and see what creatures are lingering in your space. Then head on over to the Poetry Friday roundup at Rose’s blog, Imagine the Possibilities

8 thoughts on “Fat Hummingbirds and Wild Beds”

  1. Marilyn, I am so glad I came across your blog today on the round-up. I, too, am a gardener and I can definitely relate to your post and measuring time in flowers and/or seasons and the gardening tasks and/or joys that await! It was funny at the end of your post how you mentioned hummingbirds. I just filled my feeder for them again today – we’ve been gone on vacation for two weeks and I am hoping they are still around looking for a meal! I’ll know soon! I am also glad to know you think of the pollinators that need fall hiding places and food – we are of like minds! I enjoyed your post! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have an inner gardener in me itching to come out, so I envy your wild space. Plump hummingbirds, roaming bees, all find a place in the space you create. How is there anything better?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marilyn, I was so pleased to read your post today. I have been preparing for autumn’s arrival for a couple of weeks. The gardens are full, maybe too full, but I love nature’s choice to replenish my beds with new growth and let me add my autumnal touches. Your image poem/haiku exemplifies the warmth of Mother Nature at the end of a season.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This post made me laugh, Marilyn! I do my little deck flowers and get the occasional hummingbird, some bees, and even a frog sometimes (two stories up), but I don’t have nearly the passion/energy for gardening as you do. I admire all you gardeners out there whose passion beautifies the world in so many different ways. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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