Friday, October 27, 2006

Of Habits and Habitats... and Amy

Purely by accident, I became an experimenter in the garden. I bought a flowering plant at the local nursery because it had a sign claiming it attracted butterflies. I brazenly plopped down 4 bucks. While I was planting it, a butterfly landed on my arm. Now, if that's not a sign, I don't know what is.

Next up, a Honeysuckle. It quickly became a big monster of a vine, loaded with sweet nectar. Calliope Hummingbirds thought they'd died and gone to heaven.

And, so, I made it a habit... building a garden that brought a different type of beauty into my world. Each summer, I worked on a habitat for butterflies, tiny hummingbirds, finches and pretty much anything else that came to call.

Only this year, I fell short. Obligations took me far from home and I didn't really do much for my wild friends. And, that's where Amy comes in. There's a beauty to nature that's hard to define. Mostly because it's shrouded with mystery. How do butterflies find my garden? How do Hummingbirds know I've planted a picnic? I haven't exactly alerted the media to my efforts. In fact, I've told no one and, yet somehow they know and so did Amy.

Because she marched in my door with a gift of a flowering plant known in my world as the beacon for hummingbirds!

Arizona's Hardy Fuchsia
is the toughest fuchsia ever born. Known for their dainty ways, no one really expects much out of a Fuchsia, but this one can handle cold, drought and an entourage of Hummingbirds. I can't hardly wait 'til my little buddies show up next spring, wondering what's on the menu.

* Any friend kind enough to track down a Zauschneria arizonica (Hardy Fuchsia) USDA zones 5-9 is a friend for life. Pamper her, abuse the plant. It loves the rough conditions of the Southwest.

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