September Song

Migrating catbirds have stripped the Spicebush (Lindera benzoan) and resident cardinals join in pecking away at the Japanese Beautyberries (Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Amethyst’). Have not noticed anyone eating the much larger, fatter berries of C. americana, incongruously called French mulberry, both with that beautiful ethereal color. Will cut the Americans back to a foot in spring to thicken them up, but leave the Japanese to fulfill their naturally arching habit.

I love planting berries and flowers for the birds. It’s much more satisfying to me than luring them to fight over store bought seed and sugar mixes. There’s no dispensing, cleaning and general maintenance chores involved, just giving them the plants they want for food and shelter.

A fortuitous patch of Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) along the front porch affords twice daily shows of a couple of hummingbirds swooping through to nuzzle each orange trumpet while through the day and into the twilight plump black bees poke their whole bodies inside with just their little legs sticking out.

This last day of September has us hunkered down waiting for the rain and winds of Hurricane Ian flying from its devastating journey through the middle of Florida. It looks like a Derecho on the maps, heading straight for Roanoke, a hundred miles south. We will see how the hollow will handle it, rain flooding through the Beech and the low spot off the back corner of the house, sluicing down to its lowest point to pour into the creek, then rushing off eastward toward the Bay. We are riparian. We ride the waters.

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