I just want to see one right now. I just want one; just one. I don’t want a hundred or fifty or even two. I just want to see one.
A Hummingbird. Just one. Please!
My wife, the Beautiful AP and I have never seen a Hummingbird, except in documentaries. In real life? None.
We know folks who love to go birding. They have seen many, many Hummingbirds. Some have called us to tell us where to go (right now!) and we’ll see the birds if we go, “Right now!” We hop in the car and head off, usually to Hempstead Lake State Park. There is an area where people see dozens and dozens of Hummingbirds.
We have not seen one. In all of our visits, we have not seen one.
“Maybe,” said the Beautiful AP, “We should set up our property so we attract them and create an ecosystem.”
“Huh?” I said.
“Let’s make our property welcoming to all the birds, animals and insects that belong on Long Island. You know all of our bushes, shrubs, trees and plants come from Asia.”
“We had a Japanese landscape architect,” I said. “In Japan we fell in love with the Japanese landscapes.”
“Yes, but now I think we should go natural to where we live. Hummingbirds will be attracted to some of what we grow.”
“Do you believe that?”
“Yes,” she said. “I’m actually embarrassed that I had made a video on native plant gardens for South Shore Audubon and have nothing native on our property.”
“So, right here on our property we’ll attract native stuff?”
“Not stuff. Native insects, bees and animals—and Hummingbirds.”
So we decided to make our property native or native-ish, as it is a three-year plan and there are some Asian trees and shrubs we’d like to keep.
First, we had a non-native tree removed. A friend had offered it to us years ago and we both felt we couldn’t say no. Now we know why he didn’t plant it on his property: it does absolutely nothing for pollinators, takes up valuable real estate, and is disgusting.
We also decided on a border of creeping red thyme, which isn’t exactly native, but functions as native. We knew that native gardeners put down cardboard to kill the grass and then drill holes in it to plant new plants. Why didn’t we do that? Instead, we just pulled up the grass. We blew that one!
Now a mini-forest is growing in that dirt and our thyme ground cover is struggling to keep up. The grass had probably acted as a carpet and kept the rest of nature down. Now nature is sprouting like crazy and we’re weeding like crazy.
Where the non-pretty tree was, the Beautiful AP has planted two crops, spinach and soy beans. They are growing really well (by our standards).
I planted native seeds all over the property that would attract all the Long Island fauna. So far not a one—not a stinking one—has grown. They’re doing well in our container gardens, but around the property? Nil!
We have planted some native shrubs, bushes and trees and named each one after a dearly departed relative. All but one is doing well; Aunt Annie might not make it.
We have joined Rewild Long Island and touch base with Long Island Native Plant Gardening Group on Facebook where we and other rookies making rookie mistakes can get advice. We are learning every single day—usually about “stuff” we screwed up.
Frank Scoblete’s web site is www.frankscobelete.com. His books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books, libraries and at bookstores.