Sweat dribbles past the band in my hat and down my temple as I snip away at the black-eyed susans’ riotous yellow orange petals which surround a black center. Smaller in the spring, they now impinge on the nearby shy lavender. Lavender prefers a bit of space from its garden mates. Space for air to flow and dry out the ever present humidity. The susans are more weed like, their blooms radiating from a base of dark green leaves, very prolific. Carefully, I remove some blossoms; those whose weight has carried them onto the lavender. Later, in the fall, I'll divide the susans and transplant them along the fence where they can grow in their uninhibited way. But for now, this will save the lavender.
Birds return to their feeders as I sit, debating upon returning to the flowers or taking a shower. The black and rust-colored orchard oriole hops under the shade of the little gem magnolia as he searches out seeds and insects. A downy woodpecker with her feathers of black and white lands gracefully on the suet. Bright red cardinals, russet wrens, and brown sparrows with a black bid covering their buff chest all glide in to partake of the feast. Vivid yellow goldfinches join the mixed flock, so small they dance along the susans’ blossoms and eat the black seeds of the flower's center. Doves and squirrels join in to gather seeds which fall to the ground.
A pair of iridescent emerald-green hummingbirds with shimmering pale gray bellies arrives just five feet from me. Their aerial dance brings them so close to each other, I wonder how they don’t foul their wings or beaks. Seemingly, they’re showing each other the attributes of the yard, much like buying a house. She darts to one feeder as if to say, Try this one. It’s very good. He does likewise at the second feeder, stretching his ruby throat out before bending to the feeder.
Again, they dance, pausing to sample the roses and crepe myrtle along the way. Their chittering helps me follow them as they dart through the little gem magnolia to sample the bright orange zinnias. On they go to the larger trees at the edge of the yard. Hummingbirds usually mate in the spring. I’m not sure what this dance is, but it’s been beautiful to witness. As the hummingbirds disappear into the trees, the hum of traffic on a nearby thoroughfare breaks into my consciousness. I’d nearly forgotten that I live in a busy town. Think I’ll just get that shower and leave the garden to the wildlife for now.