Looking for me? I’m out here in the garden, doing what I would otherwise have been doing indoors.
Last spring as I sat working away on my computer, Beatrix the Hummingbird built a nest in the outdoor chandelier. There we sat for weeks she and I, face-to-face some six feet apart, me sitting on my bench busy with my work, she sitting on her eggs busy with her work, the chandelier rocking gently in the wind.
One day Beatrix stopped coming. I began to miss her so I climbed on the bench and peeked in her nest for a clue to her absence. My heart sank. Something had discovered her tiny perfect little eggs. A rat perhaps? Another bird? The baby possum I had seen running along the top of the brick wall? There they lay as Beatrix would have found them, broken and lifeless.
Summer began to bloom so that by mid-morning it was too hot to stay outside. Besides, computer batteries only last so long. What I really needed was a bit of privacy, some shade and some electricity. What I really needed was an outdoor room!
The previous owners had erected a pergola that I was determined to press into service. An electrician routed wire via an underground PVC pipe and created outlets. Voila, electricity! Two sides were bordered by walls so I potted Bougainvillea vines along the third and hung curtains on the fourth, which faces the street. Voila, privacy! Growing king and queen palms threw their leafy arms across the “ceiling”. Voila, shade!
Next was comfy garden furniture: a coffee table to work on plus a bench, chairs and ottoman for my feet, all with apple green cushions (from Smith & Hawkin’s going-out-of business sale).
Beatrix still passes by on her morning nectar runs but now, rather than “barking” at me to claim her territory (as hummingbirds do) she just pauses curiously to look. I like to think we’ve gotten companionably used to each other’s company. I keep red Mandeville in flower for her breakfast, hoping she will stick around for spring and try building her nest again, this time in a better spot.