Busiest Bush on the Block

The Hummingbird Bush was literally buzzing.

There were many kinds of bees,

 

hummingbirds and

in the evening, Hummingbird Moths.

A Green Anole was getting into the action, hoping for a bug snack. In the Fall, the birds will eat the ripened berries.

Hamelia paten, named after Frenchman Henri Hamel, is a large shrub/small tree that is native to Mexico.  It has many common names including, firebush, scarlet bush, Mexican firebush, Mexican firecracker, Texas firebush and in Mayan, Ix Canaan. In this area, we call it Hummingbird Bush. All of these names give us a good reason to learn botanical names.

The Hamelia paten is related to coffee plants and in Mexico, the fruits are fermented into a drink.

It is certainly a versatile plant that feeds many and produces bright red flowers for humans to enjoy.


Hummingbird Competition

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Unbelievably, the gang of Hummingbirds are still visiting my feeders.  I have never had this many Hummers for this amount of time.  At times, there are up to twelve birds fighting for the sugar water.  I’ve been spending my days observing the tiny birds and was watching them from my kitchen window, when an interesting scenario began playing out.  I grabbed my camera and started shooting through the window.

It was early in the evening when the feeding frenzy really ramps up and a new visitor appeared.  The reddish brown creature is a Hummingbird Moth, which many mistake as a baby hummingbird. I had an entomologist identify one before and its proper name is Mournful Sphinx Moth (Enyo lugbris).  

At first the moth couldn’t quite figure out how the feeder worked.

Before long it found the feeder’s hole.  Needless to say, the Hummingbird was not happy and it actually poked the moth.  The little Hummingbird Moth was not bothered and fed until it was full.

I took a chance, went outside and managed to get a photo before the moth took off to work on the flowers.

Click on the photo and scroll down to click on full size for a better look.


Lilies That Thrive in the Heat

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Lilies are difficult to grow on the Gulf Coast with the heavy clay soil, heat, humidity, and soaking rains.  But, Philippine Lilies (Lilium formosanum) love these conditions and bloom in July and August.  The plants set seeds that easily germinate to produce many more lilies, which makes them perfect for the Automatic Garden.

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The blooms give off their perfumed scents at night and attract the hummingbird moth, often mistaken for “baby” hummingbirds because of the moths’ ability to hoover while they gather nectar.  Philippine Lilies grow about 4 to 5 feet tall and make a stunning back drop for other summer bloomers.