Monday, August 30, 2010

Hummingbird Festival

This past Saturday was the 3rd annual Hummingbird Festival at Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood, KY. Yew Dell is the former estate of the late commercial nurseryman Theodore Kline. It has been reopened as a horticultural display, education and research center for the region. There is a link to Yew Dell in the "links" section of my blog. Check it out. It is a very interesting place!

At the festival, trained volunteers were catching hummingbirds and banding them for tracking purposes. It was fascinating to watch the tiny creatures up close and personal. The volunteers took each bird's measurements and put a tiny band on the bird's leg. It was very intricate work! The birds were then released and they flew on their merry way.  

Some interesting facts about ruby-throated hummingbirds:
  •  adult females are slightly larger than adult males
  •  they weigh less than a nickel but may double in weight prior to migration
  •  they can fly hundreds of miles non-stop (500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico)
  •  they live about 4-5 years if they survive the first year
  •  they eat their weight in nectar or sugar water and insects each day
So, I plan to keep feeding the hummingbirds in my yard because they usually return to the same location the next year. They are truly remarkable creatures and so interesting to watch!
Here are a couple of pictures of a female hummingbird in the hands of a trained volunteer at Yew Dell :

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The garden in August

This has been an oppressively hot summer in the bluegrass state. Most of my perennials have already had their "day in the sun" and won't make another appearance until next summer. The black-eyed Susans are getting droopy but provided a much needed burst of color during the last part of July and early August. The annuals are still looking good and my elephant ear plant has grown considerably since I planted it at the beginning of summer. I hope I'll be able to dig it up in the fall, store it over winter, and plant it again next spring.

One plant that is blooming now is called "hot lips turtle head".  The botanical name for it is "chelone lyonii".  It has pink blossoms that resemble lips.

Here's some pictures of the garden in mid-August:
Hydrangea and elephant ear

"Hot lips"
Elephant ear and assorted annuals
Impatiens did well this summer in spite of the heat!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hummingbirds are finally here!

I have been filling the hummingbird feeders all summer long but had not seen any hummingbirds until the last week or so. I suppose they didn't need the nectar from the feeders when there were so many flowers in bloom. They are so much fun to watch. I tried to take a couple of pictures of them. If you look closely, you'll see them!