Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Flowers for feathered travelers

For two days in a row our small terrace has been visited by the tiniest of birds, making the mightiest of journeys. 

You hope, when you plant a seed, that something like this will happen at the other end of the growing season, but you never know.

It has been magical, watching from a few feet away as this miniature creature flashes from flower to flower, sometimes pausing in midair for seconds, suspended.

There are three vines, in two pots. One is grown from a seed given to me by our friend Don in Cape Town, two are from Botanical Interests. But I don't know which is which. I call them lablab beans, but most Americans know them as hyacinth bean. Lablab purpureus is African, so hardly a native food for the ruby-throated hummingbird. (Weeks ago we saw them feasting on trumpet vine flowers - native eastern Campsis radicans - out at Jamaica Bay. But our tiny terrace is no match for that perennial twiner's aggressive behavior.) 

Still, can a foreign flower be worse for hummingbirds than sugar water? It's definitely less problematic in terms of passing on pathogens. And much more photogenic.

If only we could pack them a tiny lunch, for sustenance along the way.


Book a Walk and Picnic


  1. Splendid! And such a wonder, that your flowers were found by the travelers.


  2. I've refilled my feeders - I know, sugar water = bad, but better than nothing - to help them out if they come this way. No tiny lunchboxes available here either.

    1. I'm not sure how bad the sugar and water are - one assumes there is more tiny-bird nutrition in nectar...

  3. Ah, wonderful! I haven't noticed any of our hummingbirds on my hyacinth beans yet but I will keep an eye out. I hadn't grown them in years and did so this year and it has been a delight.

  4. Actually .... if a few seeds were to drop off your vines into an envelope, I'd try lablab on my deck next year .... just a thought (if you have extras ...) :-)

    1. If some are fat and ripe enough, I will, although we have been eating them! You can also buy them from Johnny's Seeds and Botanical Interests...


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