Monday, April 6, 2009

World's laziest hummingbird

There is an L-shaped small garden-y space at one corner of our big family/tv/window room. The space has house-outer-wall making two borders & poured-concrete-walkway making the other four. Parts get either full sun or no sun depending on the time of day or time of year (one of the walkways hemming it in is converting to a pergola that is slowly being covered with confederate jasmine). In short, whatever anyone (even previous homeowners) planted in this hostile (full sun, no sun, poor drainage) area, not much survived multiple seasons. Even weeds did not do well. Until the aloe.

The aloe was actually already there. A single small soap aloe plant was at the back edge, furthest from the sun (but int the days before the confederate jasmine this was less of an issue). My guess is it was leftover from an attempt to make this an herb garden. In principle it looks like the perfect spot for an herb garden. Until the rains come. The concave roofline made a waterfall out of the gentlest spring rain, the daily summer thunder-boomer flattened everything there. Everything except the aloe.

By the end of the first few years, the aloe had flowered, seeded & then her daughters flowered & seeded until the whole side immediately under that dangerous corner was thick with aloe. So thick, they were pushing each other up out of the ground.

& so I dug them out. Not all of them, just the biggest ones. I realize this seems counter intuitive but I figured the smaller ones would fill in soon enough. & they did. I gave many to W*****, who now has quite a crop herself, others I spread out in the sunny gaps under the banana tree, thinking they might hold back the weeds & to an extent they do). The others I planted in the newly cleared front portion of the same flower bed in which they had been born.

& there they have thrived. The stalks of blooms are tall enough to be seen through all the windows on that side of the room. The stalk in the picture above is well over three feet tall & others are growing up alongside it. All those hanging red blooms are more than the local hummingbirds can resist. We can see them even in winter on very warm days.

But this weekend we saw a pair of the biggest, slowest moving hummingbirds we have ever seen. The abundance has gone to their little brains.


  1. I love hummingbirds and so do my dogs and cat. Sounds like the kind of show I would like to stage for them in my yard.

  2. Great picture of the hummer!
    The aloes are lovely, too.

    I can't imagine what gardening in Florida is like: I've only visited the panhandle and that was hot enough!