In honor of National Migratory Bird Day on May 12, I just wanted to alert you that in Arkansas, this is Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Migration Time!
I have been waiting and watching because the Rubies should be back in Arkansas any day now. Usually they start arriving in early April, and sometimes they come as early as mid-to-late March and then leave again in September or October.
This year, for some reason they’re a little late but I am busy preparing my hummingbird feeders because once they’re back – they’re hungry from their flight up from the south.
Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds normally spend the winter in Central America and their trek north is an amazing one. These tiny flyers manage to fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico, traveling up to 2500 miles each fall on their way to nest. From March through May they pass through the eastern two thirds of Texas. Some swing up through Cuba and Florida, probably with a stop at a resort hotel in Orlando, you can bet!
Other brave, strong Rubies barrel straight across the Gulf of Mexico. The birds reach the southern Gulf coast in late February and early March. Later migrants fly to breeding grounds further north so their arrival time to their nesting grounds coincides with when their food source plants are blooming. Only the Ruby-throated Hummingbird breeds east of the Mississippi River. The tiny little newborn hummingbird is about the size of a honeybee, their egg, the size of a pea.
Conversely, their departure times corresponds with the end of the blooming period for those nutrient plants. The fall migration lasts from late July until late October in the southern states.
Nearly all Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds fly south of Mississippi for the winter. Ten other species can be seen in the region during winter so it’s a good idea to leave at least one feeder out.
Amazingly, the Ruby-throat beats its wings 40-80 times a second, and maintains an average flight speed of 30 mph while their escape speeds can reach 50 mph. No wonder they can outdistance Marge my cat!
Congratulations to Alice McMillan and Christine Czarnecki! Your comments are my picks for the book giveaway. Alice I loved all the ways your grandmother used yellow in the garden, especially the traces of yellow on the river rock. Christine, your blue and yellow toile dining rooms sounds so lovely. Hope your search for forsythia was a success!
There were so many amazing comments! Thank you to everyone for participating and for all the fab ideas for using yellow.
A recent visit with The Collected Tabletop author Kathryn Greeley inspired me to get reacquainted with my tableware collection. I'm hopelessly addicted to collecting cream ware, porcelain and transferware. An ardent collector herself, Kathryn showed me some clever ways to set a table with my pieces. With spring's official arrival tomorrow I'm eager to use some of her tips to create a new tablescape to celebrate the season.
And since it is spring what better color to work with than yellow! Now I'll admit, yellow isn't the easiest color for me to work with so I went to designer Tobi Fairley for advice. She sent along this post with a few ideas for incorporating it into a tabletop.
Thanks so much to my good friend Allen for inviting me to be his guest today! Allen is always so kind to share his wisdom on my blog, and it's such a treat to be here to share with you today!
Speaking of treats, this early summer weather has certainly brought us a few -- like lush green landscapes and early blooms. Allen's beautiful daffodils are always one of the highlights of an Arkansas spring and this year is no different.
The rolling hills of yellow have inspired me to share a few ideas for bringing this vibrant hue to a table setting indoors.
Here are a few of my favorite finds inspired by the daffodils at Moss Mountain Farm.
Aegean Dinner Plate /Yellow and White "Firenze" Fabric for a Tablecloth / White & Yellow Cake Stand /Lacquered Box / Linen Cocktail Napkins / Glass Decanter Set
Choose one of these or mix a few together to create a look that's fresh as a daffodil!
The first week of March definitely came in like a lamb this year with temperatures in the 60s and 70s. It was beautiful weather for working in the staff garden at the City Garden Home.
The soil needed some TLC after working hard all fall and winter. Vegetables are needy when it comes to soil. They require fertile, well draining ground for optimal growth. I like to refresh the soil after each growing season to replenish nutrients. Gardening is raised beds makes it easy. I take the existing soil and mix in well rotted manure and compost or humus. A good ratio is 2 parts soil to 1 part manure and 1 part compost.
As a final step Jobe's Organics All Purpose fertilizer was added. This stuff is powerfully good at breaking down nutrients in the soil for plants to absorb.
This year is going to be the best yet for the staff garden.
The Farmer's Almanac had it right when they predicted a mild winter for Arkansas. We've only had a handful of nights below freezing and just one dusting of snow. That's quite a difference from last year's numerous winter storms.
This year's more peaceful weather gives me more opportunities to be outdoors enjoying the quiet beauty in the garden.
One downside to living on a farm is I track in a lot of dirt. Everything in my house collects dust; I mean everything including my houseplants. Aside from looking grungy, a dirty plant can't breathe because the pores in the leaves clog up. The solution is simple; give them a bath.
For small to medium plants you can just wash the leaves by wiping with a sponge or cloth soaked in lukewarm water. Add a little soap if the dust is really encrusted, but make sure you rinse it off. You can also wash houseplants at the sink. Hold your hands over the top of the pot to keep the soil in, and gently wash the foliage.
Or how about a shower? You can put large plants in the shower, but be easy with the water pressure. You don’t want to damage the leaves.
Now these techniques don't apply to all plants. Plants with fuzzy leaves like African violets resent having water on their foliage. Use a dry brush to remove the dust.
Now remember whenever you are using these techniques involving soap, be sure you get it all rinsed off.
The next time you're giving your plants a little TLC; don't forget to give them a bath.
If you've been suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka SAD), take heart because the winter solstice is tomorrow. In the Northern Hemisphere it is the shortest day of the year and marks the start of winter. It also signals the beginning of more daylight hours, which is certainly reason to celebrate!
To mark the day I like to get my hands in the soil. Weather permitting, I’ll putter around the garden or I’ll plant something indoors like paperwhite bulbs or some sweetpea seed for placing in a cold frame. At dusk I’ll watch the sunset, turn on the Christmas tree lights and make a mental note that spring is just 90 days away.